Failing corona policy

21 November 2021

Failing corona policy

The government is failing in its corona policy. While a large part of the Netherlands is now vaccinated, more people than ever tested positive this week. The years of erosion of our health care is now visible to everyone. In the meantime, the (still outgoing) cabinet is sowing discord while perspective is needed.

Healthcare providers were already having a tough time, but now healthcare is really in crisis. Already twenty years ago, Agnes Kant pleaded for more IC capacity. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. There are now even fewer IC nurses than at the beginning of the corona crisis. In the past ten years, 19 ICs, 16 emergency rooms, 5 hospitals and all nursing homes have been closed. And even now, plans are being made to further dismantle healthcare and healthcare institutions have to make budget cuts.

Also, the workload of healthcare providers has been too high for years. Because of too few colleagues, a lack of influence, low salaries and bureaucracy, 40% quit within two years after completing their training. This week, we took the initiative to let healthcare providers themselves speak in the Lower House about their most urgent need, but most of the parties are blocking this.

Research shows that the corona mortality rate is higher in countries with more market forces in their care system. They appear to be less able to cooperate. In the Netherlands, too, we see how insane the market is in healthcare. The government bought millions of face masks with our tax money. These are now in danger of being thrown away because they may not be distributed as this would 'distort the market'. There are private clinics where 10% more care can be given, but because of the market, we cannot use these clinics for all those people who now have to wait for their care. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are earning billions from these vaccines.

Instead of rebuilding our healthcare system, scrapping the market mechanisms and valuing healthcare providers better, the powers-that-be are mainly busy diverting attention from their own mistakes by sowing discord. While less than 30% of the Netherlands still has faith in the government, they no longer want to allow non-vaccinated people in certain places, the so-called 2G policy. This is not proportional and not effective. The number of infections must be reduced, and 2G is not going to achieve that. A section of society is being excluded - and nobody knows for how long - while vaccinated people unfortunately also pass on the virus.

Alternative courses of action?

  • Invest in care and remove the market forces. More capacity and an emergency plan for better terms of employment and more influence for care providers. We desperately need them all.
  • A clear strategy with perspective. Tell us how many infections we are looking at and why we need to take the necessary measures. Nobody understands the current measures.
  • Get the basics right, invest in testing and the source and contact research at the GGD so that the virus can be successfully contained.
  • Don't exclude, but inform. Some people do not get vaccinated because they think it will cost them their deductible, they are waiting for an invitation from the GGD, or they deeply distrust the government. Personal contact with community teams and GPs is more effective than continuing to sow discord.
  • Tackle inequality. People on low incomes die three times as often from corona as people on high incomes. Working at home is safe for people in offices, but a large part of the working population cannot work at home at all or keep 1.5 metres distance.

Together we can bring about change.

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