The Netherlands can only support 2400 ICU beds due to lack of ICU nurses

One of the greatest challenges for any healthcare system right now is having enough intensive care units (ICUs), to take in the high number of people infected with the coronavirus.

The Netherlands has only a limited number of ICU beds, and while there have been political calls for this number to be expanded to 3000, an association of nurses does not believe that is feasible, reports NOS.

A maximum of 2400 ICU beds

Gerton Heye, chairman of V & VN, a professional association of nurses, said that getting more than 2400 ICU beds is simply not possible, due to a lack of ICU nurses to manage them.

He points out that being an ICU nurse not only requires technical skills, but that it’s also a mentally straining job. Normally, an ICU nurse takes care of two patients, but in the near future, that number might increase to three or four patients.

Currently, nurses that work in other departments are taking over certain tasks normally done by ICU nurses.

Call for more ICU beds is irresponsible

According to Mr Heyne, asking for more ICU beds is irresponsible. Political parties like the PvdA and PVV that call for 3000 ICU beds to be implemented are sending an illusory message to society.

The problem is that if the number of patients increases in the following weeks, not everyone will be able to get an ICU bed and that increases the risk of death. Besides that, some beds need to be left open for non-coronavirus patients.

Hospitals have also criticised the call for more beds. The chairman of the  Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg has said that the maximum capacity of beds is expected to be fully occupied within the next five days. He further stated that “You can easily say that you want 3000 beds, but that is not a walk to the supermarket. The reality is really different.”

82 new patients in ICU compared to yesterday

As of now, there’s a total of 1,273 patients in intensive care units, with 82 new patients since yesterday. This increase in line to current expectations, according to the National Coordination Centre for Patient Distribution.

Follow the DutchReview Facebook page for more updates on COVID-19 in the Netherlands.

Feature Image: Calleamanecer/Wikimedia Commons 

Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.

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