Hospitals facing backlog of up to 210,000 surgeries

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Dutch hospitals and clinics are expected to catch up on between 170,000 and 210,000 surgeries as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) expects this based on new calculations.

According to a spokesperson, it involves about 11 to 14 percent of the operations that normally take place in a year. Since the crisis erupted in March last year, there were between 340,000 and 380,000 fewer surgeries than would have happened without the crisis, but there were also fewer injuries such as bone fractures and sports injuries and fewer cases of respiratory and middle ear infections during the lockdowns.

In the meantime, some complaints also just went away. There has been discussion for some time about performing operations that are not very necessary. Some recurring treatments also did not have to be made up. Such periodic treatments are picked up again like normal.

The surgeries that need to be caught up in particular are cataract and post-cataract surgery (18 percent of the total estimated catch-up care demand), hip and knee replacement (9 percent), inguinal and other abdominal wall fractures (7 percent), operations for varicose veins (3 percent), and operations for women with incontinence complaints and/or prolapse (3 percent).

Sine April, the number of referrals returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

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Elena Johaness

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