At the Central Station in The Hague, hundreds of people demonstrate against discounts in elderly care. They are care workers, but also informal carers, relatives, volunteers and others who want to support elderly people in need. “Minister Helder does not seem to see the seriousness of the situation,” they say.
A group of 27 elderly care organizations in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland, under the umbrella of NNCZ, organized the protest. A petition they have drawn up has been signed by just under 35,000 people. They presented it to the Minister for Long-Term Care. They ask that the cuts in budgets for elderly care be wiped off the table, otherwise they foresee major financial problems.
From Haren in Groningen, about 180 people go to the protest in The Hague, including in buses. “We have scaled down the occupation in our nursing homes to give as many employees as possible the opportunity to demonstrate, and at the same time we have asked family members and loved ones to either come along or help in the residential groups. responded,” says Roeli Mossel, director of the NNCZ, in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal.
The group of 27 organizations for the elderly in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland expects to be more than 100 million euros short next year, partly due to announced budget cuts and much higher wage demands.
Yesterday, an analysis by accountant BDO also showed that the financial situation for organizations that care for the elderly is becoming unsustainable. And today, consultancy and consultancy firm EY concluded in its annual healthcare barometer that especially in long-term care, including elderly care, “the dark clouds have turned into storms”.
No more happy moments
“My biggest concern is that employees will leave the sector, because it is no longer fun, too busy, too heavy, while we know that there will be a shortage anyway. This means that the chances are very high that the most vulnerable people falling between two stools,” says Mossel.
“Those moments of happiness for our clients just end,” says district nurse Linda when she looks for a place on the bus to The Hague. “It just hurts, we work with our hearts and we can no longer do that. I still like it, but the pressure should not increase.”
Two employees in home care support Linda: “This care is important. When people are seriously ill, there is sometimes simply no place for our clients. If the informal care is not there, because the children live far away, then they are alone at home. They receive our care, three times a day for half an hour, and for the rest they lie in bed and can’t do anything. That is simply not humane. I don’t wish that on anyone.”
We are getting a lot more elderly, so we have to start living together differently, but that is a process that takes years.
Together, the organizations in the Northern Netherlands have about 30,000 clients. The problems in elderly care play out across the country, they say. “The demand for care is increasing enormously while the supply of personnel is decreasing, but that development is even faster on the edges of the Netherlands than in the Randstad,” says district nurse Linda.
‘Cover goes too fast’
Minister Helder announced in June that she would not financially help the 27 elderly organizations in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. According to the minister, a lot of extra money has already been allocated to organize elderly care differently. An additional EUR 1.65 billion has already been provided for the period 2023-2027.
The minister believes that a change must be made. People have to manage at home for longer and also prepare for it. The healthcare sector also sees this, says Roeli Mossel: “The minister is trying to encourage us in the Netherlands to think about how you want to organize that if you are old yourself or if your parents are old. We are getting a lot more elderly, so we have to start living together differently, but that is a process of years.”
According to Mossel, the process is now going too fast: “That is what we say. We are not asking for more money, but get rid of those discounts and then we will get to work, together with the minister, to bring about the innovation. “
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