18 July 2023, by Victoria Séveno

The VU in Amsterdam has announced that, from Monday, July 24, the hospital’s accident and emergency department (A&E) will be closed between the hours of 8pm and 7.30am as a result of staff shortages. 

A&E at VU closed between 8pm and 7.30am

According to AT5, the staffing issues at both the AMC and VU hospitals in the Dutch capital have been building for a while. In an internal email sent to doctors and nursing staff at the end of May, the VU asked workers from other departments to volunteer to fill the gaps in A&E. In spite of these efforts, the department remains understaffed, forcing the hospital to take drastic measures. 

Instead of attempting to plug the gaps in both hospitals’ A&E departments, resources are being diverted to the AMC. This means that, from Monday, July 24, the VU’s emergency department will be closed overnight. Those who require emergency care between 8pm and 7.30am will be treated at the AMC in Amsterdam Zuidoost. 

AT5 reports that there are some exceptions to this; the VU’s cardiac first aid department (EHH) will remain open overnight, and patients who are “already known to the VU” and are being transported by ambulance will still be taken to the VU – not the AMC.

Other Amsterdam hospitals still offer overnight emergency care

It’s not yet clear how long this closure will last – although it’s worth noting that the VU already intended to close its emergency department for good from May 2024. 

“What you see in the entire emergency chain is that all links in it are currently suffering from a lack of staff,” Mark Kramer, board member at the VU, told AT5, emphasising that the quality of healthcare in the city remains high: “The Amsterdammer is very well served. For the simple reason that there are currently six emergency rooms here in Amsterdam. That is a unique situation for the Netherlands.”   

Earlier this month, staff at the VU told AT5 that they’d ask the hospital for higher wages in order to continue to work in A&E. The hospital is expected to make a decision on the matter within the next two weeks. 

Thumb: Xandra R via Shutterstock.com.

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