Healthcare staff shortages: Desperate measures to fill rosters in summer vacation

The combination of growing staff shortages and healthcare workers on summer vacation has numerous healthcare facilities taking desperate measures to fill their rosters, AD reports. Informal carers provide extra help in nursing homes, GP posts are closing, and women can only count on limited maternity care after birth.

Maternity care seems to be a particular problem this summer, according to the newspaper. “We are already getting signals that maternity nurses have to work in three different families in one day,” Feli Escarabajal of the trade union FNV told AD. Many nurses already work extra hours but still can’t provide enough maternity care. “We hear complaints that women with medical complications, for example, after a cesarean section, only get minimal maternity care. You have to wonder how long women will continue to get good maternity care.”

MantelzorgNL, the organization for informal carers, told AD that care institutions are increasingly relying on informal carers. For example, nursing homes ask them to do more for their loved ones over the summer because they don’t have enough staff. People in care facilities may also receive less help with dressing and undressing, less washing and showering, and less supervision of medication use this summer, according to the newspaper.

MantelzorgNL called the development worrying. “We must not forget that professional care only comes into the picture when it is no longer possible with the help of your own network,” director Esther Hendriks said. “Now we have reached a point where the informal caregiver takes the burden back to relieve the care staff. That only increases the overload. Admission is often the only option then.”

General practitioners’ summer schedules are also proving a challenge in some areas. For example, one of the three emergency posts in the Arnhem region will be closed this holiday – the one in Zevenaar. Umbrella organization Onze Huisartsen couldn’t find enough people. “The main cause of the personnel problems is the sudden long-term absence of some colleagues. That, in combination with the existing shortage and the allocated summer holidays, means that we cannot keep all three of our GP posts open this summer,” a spokesperson said.

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