Groningen’s Martini Hospital has called off large numbers of planned operations as nursing numbers drop and infection cases among staff rise. The decision was announced yesterday, with the situation expected to continue for two weeks.
“We’ve been grappling with high rates of staff absences,” Ton Tiebosch, board member of the hospital, was quoted by Omroep OOG as saying. “This means that we have to cancel planned operations from April 1. We recognize that any change to the timeline for a surgery will cause some stress and worry for our patients. But the situation leaves us no other choice. The well-being of our healthcare professionals is paramount, as is the quality of our care for our patients.”
The hospital will be shutting eight out of fourteen operating theaters, but acute and emergency care will continue. Patients affected by service level changes will be contacted directly, as the hospital assesses impacts and reviews alternate options for care.
More than 12 per cent of the Martini Hospital’s staff, mostly nurses, were off duty this week. Dozens of others are unable to work because they have tested positive for Covid-19, or because they are caring for children or family who are sick with the virus.
High levels of staff infections has cut deep into the University Medical Center’s services, too. Two weeks ago, UMCG announced it would put off scores of non-emergency operations because of escalating hospital staff sickness.