The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) is planning to give staff members in key positions with personnel shortages a 5,000 euro bonus if they promise to remain in their roles for the coming three years.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
Positions that are eligible for the financial incentive include operating theatre assistants, anaesthetists, and intensive care nurses. Hospital administrators hope that the bonus will help to keep existing staff longer and also attract new staff. Staff shortages have been an issue for UMCG over recent years, and the hospital recently announced that four operating theatres would remain closed at the hospital until at least the end of 2018.
The Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV), the trade union representing the hospital’s staff, has come out against the plan, saying that the money could be better used to address structural personnel problems within UMCG.
The FNV had been negotiating a new collective agreement with the UMCG for some time, and has said that the bonus proves there is money available to invest in employment conditions: The UMCG made a profit of €27.9 million in 2017. FNV is calling for wage increases, reduced work pressure, sustainable employability and a generational scheme where older employees can work fewer hours as younger staff take on more tasks.
According to Eurostat and the OECD, the Netherlands fairs well in terms of nursing numbers compared to both the EU average and the rest of the world with 12.2 nurses per 100,000 inhabitants, although most medical professional are concentrated in the Randstad. UMCG recently opened the first Proton Therapy Centre in the Netherlands. The academic hospital is also home to the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing.