140.000 operations postponed and hundreds more dead due to coronavirus

140.000 operations postponed and hundreds more dead due to coronavirus

Last year, the pressure the coronavirus pandemic placed on the Dutch healthcare system meant 140.000 operations were postponed. The crisis also caused hundreds of excess deaths, as many couldn’t receive the treatment they needed as a result of full intensive care units. 

Coronavirus crisis postponed 140.000 operations in the Netherlands

While hospitals across the Netherlands are now slowly able to re-schedule operations and resume regular care, the impact of the coronavirus on the Dutch healthcare system in 2020 is only now becoming clear, thanks to figures published by a number of large care organisations across the country. 

The Collaborative Quality Registrations (Samenwerkende Kwaliteitsregistraties, SKR) analysed data from 10 million patients in 2020 from all across the Netherlands. The report revealed 140.000 operations were postponed, including 12.000 hip and knee replacements.

The SKR also found that, of the 80.000 patients every year who are treated in intensive care after an accident, 2,9 percent died, compared to 2,4 percent in 2018 and 2019. This amounts to approximately 400 lives. 

Heart disease and cancer patients suffered the most

The report also uncovered the significant impact of the crisis on cancer patients, and people who suffered strokes or heart attacks in 2020. Last year saw 9 percent fewer reports of strokes, and 15 percent fewer reports of heart attacks, as many across the country were hesitant to seek out the care they needed.

Both the report and doctors across the country have found that the crisis had a significant impact on cancer patients. As diagnoses and operations were postponed, oncologists now recognise that many of their patients are suffering from more advanced tumours.

While the SKR has revealed the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it also stated that the quality of care for patients admitted to Dutch hospitals remained virtually unchanged last year.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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