Traumatised health personnel can’t handle a second wave: Trade Union

Overtired health workers can't handle second wave
Photo credit: Unsplash

Michel van Erp, the chairman to the board of Trade Union NU’91 believes that a second wave of the corona virus would be a big problem. “The healthcare personnels are traumatised.”

The union chairman was responding to statements made by Bart Berden of the Elisabeth-TwoCities Hospital (ETZ). He said that ten percent of the healthcare personnel, who were at the forefront of the corona crisis are still ill. Normally this is four to five percent.

“The assumption is that a large proportion of people are tired and need rest. They can’t take it anymore”, says Van Erp. “They’ve been through intense period, they’re traumatised and need time to process this. We have to handle it well and carefully.”

Staffs at the St.Anna Hospital are overtired too.  “We’ve trained managers to recognize the signs. Next week, we’ll distribute a questionnaire among the employees. With this, they themselves can identify a post-traumatic stress disorder,” says the hospital spokesperson. According to Van Erp, NU’91 is in discussion with trauma care to assist nurses and advise them on how to prevent illness and damage in the long term.

More testing for healthcare workers 
He also puts emphasis on taking better care of the health workers. “During the corona crisis, the government and politicians spoke of doing much for care personnel. But in reality, employees continue to fight for appreciation and control.” He emphasises once again that healthcare personnel must get priority in corona testing. Last week NU’91 made this call, because the waiting times for such a test are increasing and a care worker is unable to work while waiting for a test and the results.

overtired healthcare workers can't handle second wave
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Second wave
A second wave would be a big problem. Bart Berden let us know that hospitals are not ready for this yet. Van Erp emphasizes this. “The staff wants to, but physically they can’t take it anymore.”

He expresses his concern about the increase in the number of infected people and the fact that people are paying less attention to the corona rules. “To all the people I say: please stick to the rules, because the healthcare can’t handle a second wave yet. Didn’t we learn anything from that first period? We shouldn’t think that it’s going to be like March again.”


Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.


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