The Ministry of Health (VWS) has reported far too few hospital admissions of corona patients in recent months, according to research by NU.nl. The ministry has therefore switched to a new source for the number of daily hospital admissions in the corona dashboard of the national government. As a result, the number of daily hospital admissions on Wednesday more than doubled in one fell swoop compared to Tuesday.
As a result, the average number of patients admitted per day increased from 57 to 134.3 within a day. And that while the signal value, which functions as an alarm bell, is 40. This signal value is one of the most important indicators for the cabinet to estimate the risk level of the corona outbreak.
Previously, the dashboard used open data from the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) that came from the GGDs. As of Tuesday evening, the control tool uses data from the NICE Foundation (National Intensive Care Evaluation) for the daily picture of hospital admissions. According to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the NICE figures provide a “better” and “more up-to-date” picture of the pressure on healthcare.
The national government put the dashboard online at the beginning of this summer. Calculations by NU.nl show that the RIVM passed on more than fifteen hundred hospital admissions between 1 July and 13 October. The NICE Foundation reported over 3,380 new admissions in the same period. That is more than twice as many as reported by RIVM. This is a difference of no less than 1,880 recordings in more than three months. On average, this concerns eighteen COVID-19 patients per day.
This concerns corona patients in a nursing ward. The admissions in the intensive care units are separate from this and are listed separately.
Hospitals are not obliged to share data with GGD
As an explanation for the difference, the ministry says that the RIVM, which publishes the data from the GGDs daily as open data, only includes patients who are in hospital because of COVID-19. According to the ministry, NICE also takes admissions of patients with COVID-19 who have been hospitalized for other reasons.
However, according to the RIVM, it can also happen that someone tests positive, but only goes to hospital later. The GGDs have no insight into this, said a spokesman. Moreover, hospitals are not obliged to share their admission figures with the GGD, he says. For the weekly updates about the corona virus at the beginning of this month, RIVM switched to data from the NICE Foundation for the number of hospital admissions.
However, the figures of the NICE Foundation – unlike the GGD figures – do not provide insight at a regional level. According to Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health), in order to regionalize the data of NICE “the legal basis must first be properly arranged”, he wrote in a letter to the Lower House on Wednesday.
It is unclear which figures and to what extent the cabinet has based itself in determining corona policy in recent months.
NU.nl is still awaiting a response from the ministry.