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Coronavirus: Belgian hospitals start delaying non-urgent care

The growing number of coronavirus patients has forced several hospitals in Belgium to postpone non-urgent operations, De Standaard reports on Monday.

Last week, the Antwerp hospital groups Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen (ZNA) and Gasthuiszusters Antwerpen (GZA) had to postpone or cancel several operations.

This is also the case at UZ Leuven, where many Brussels residents with Covid-19 are hospitalised, as well as at the CHU Liège, which cancelled almost a third of non-emergency admissions.

The first phase of the federal plan calls for all hospitals to reserve 15% of their intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients, but some hospitals are already at 25%, which is the second phase.

It is likely that all hospitals will have the same sort of occupancy over the course of the week, according to Margot Cloet, managing director of the Flemish federation of hospitals Zorgnet-Icuro. “We therefore need to look carefully at what non-urgent care we can postpone, including consultations,” she said.

Jan Eyckmans, spokesman for the Federal Public Health Service (FPS Health) also fears that the move to the second phase of the plan will take place as early as this week. “But in theory the postponement of care only applies when hospitals reserve 50% of their intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients,” he explains.

The Brussels Times

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