Today’s coronavirus stats in the Netherlands so far are: 15 723 confirmed cases, 1,487 deaths, and 6,286 hospitalisations. It is, therefore, small wonder that the costs being incurred by the region’s Municipal Health Services (GGD) are rising sharply.
This is according to a GGD spokesperson. Earlier, this health organisation announced it has some €200,000 leftover from 2019. This operating surplus is welcome. It will, however, not make a massive difference in these trying times.
“The Public Health sector, in particular, is working overtime now,” says financial controller, Peter van Son, “Especially the infectious disease control department. I do not know how much more money will be spent than there is.”
Unclear how long this will last
“I do not dare say anything about that. It is not clear how long the corona crisis will last. Also, it remains to be seen what kind of arrangements will be made at the government level.”
The 2019 €200,000 surplus is not a significant amount, Van Son explains. “The GGD actually consists of two divisions – The Public Health and the Ambulance Care sections. The first had €21 million in 2019. The surplus at the end of the year was about €125,000.
“It is, therefore, not a lot. At the end of the year, some costs are always somewhat lower than what was budgeted for,” says the financial controller. “The same applies to the other branch, the Ambulance Services. In 2019, they had a turnover of €24 million. That left about €80,000.”
The Public Health programme mainly involves the local health department’s traditional tasks. “There you have to think of education, travel vaccinations, and disease control. These activities are also mainly paid for by the municipalities in which we are active,” says Van Son. “The ambulance services receive their income mostly from health insurers. We are also losing revenue because of the crisis,” adds Van Son.
“We usually make money with things like travel vaccinations. Last year we received about €1,5 million for that. These costs have not yet been deducted. But we do have some surplus amount there. Of course, that is not going to happen now.”
The leftover amount will be put in the divisions’ general reserve. “Public Health had already raised some €500,000 there. And Ambulance care has added €1,2 million to that.”
Translator: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives Inburgering classes in Meerhoven. Click here for more info.
Editor: Melinda Walraven