WILLEMSTAD – The long-term poor financial situation of the Sint Elisabeth Hospital (Sehos) ensures that acute care is compromised. That says Joris Schakel, chairman of the medical staff.
Sehos has filed summary proceedings against the government for non-compliance with obligations, such as the elaboration of the net residual debt between Sehos and Land Curaçao. According to the hospital, the pantry with medical supplies is regularly empty due to financial shortages:
“We have to be very creative and economical with the available resources and medicines,” says Jeanne Koeijers, internist and treasurer of the medical staff at the hospital. To save on medicines and resources, no elective operations have been performed since July. The waiting list has since risen to 300 operations. This week the elective operations have started again.
The Sehos employees are struggling daily with a structural shortage of medicines and resources such as sutures, syringes or artificial noses for artificial respirators, and this is also putting acute care at risk. The pantry was refilled after another financial injection, but this remains a temporary solution.
We are currently waiting for the opening of the new hospital, the Curaçao Medical Center (CMC). This modern and fully digitized new hospital is currently being phased out. The aim is to have the hospital open on November 15.
Costs are rising
“The costs of the new hospital will rise by 59 million a year,” said CMC Clifton Walle spokesperson. These are the costs of operational management because, among other things, Sehos did not include maintenance costs in its operational management. “That also explains the poor condition of the current hospital building,” says Walle.
The operational costs also increase because the CMC will offer more services. “New building, new processes, new equipment. A calculation has been done, what you need as working capital, so that you will not also find the financial situation that is currently affecting Sehos in the CMC, “says Walle.
According to the spokesperson, four efficiency measures are being implemented in health care, which means that a total of 80 million guilders can be saved. The CMC will, among other things, hire medical specialists.
“The more specialists work from the hospital, the lower the costs for health care,” says Walle. The digitization of patient records should reduce costs, and the financial calculation also includes reducing the number of patients sent abroad for treatment. “This will considerably reduce the costs,” says Walle.
According to Walle, situations such as a shortage of medicines and resources should no longer occur in the new hospital due to financial shortages. But then Sehos must first transfer to the new hospital.