Minister Ernst Kuipers: “Corona will not go away, long-term policy is required”

Minister Ernst Kuipers: “Corona will not go away, long-term policy is required”

“Now, a particular model is being looked at from the RIVM, on the expected numbers of infections and cases of illness,” the new health minister said in his first interview with the press. “The question would be, can you also put other models next to it, calculate a wider panel, and have more certainty?”

He thinks not only of the models that deal with health care, but also the economic impact.


Ernst Kuipers served as head of the National Acute Care Network and was responsible for distributing COVID-19 patients in hospitals. In this position, he was in daily contact with the ministry in which he is now a minister. “I will have a completely different role because of my switch.”

In his previous position, Kuipers had always been pushing to increase bed capacity in hospitals. “We need to expand capacity where there is a shortage,” Kuipers said today in his role as health minister. “I wouldn’t say how many beds. And extra capacity isn’t the answer to everything either.”

wife and children

The former family manager was sworn in as minister this morning. He has spoken extensively with his wife and children about his new job. Does he succeed in restoring confidence in politics? “Let’s do our best for it,” he said.

What does he take with him from his years of experience in the hospital? “Healthcare can no longer do without cross-institutional collaboration.”


This Kuipers means that patients will be better distributed between hospitals. But he also wants hospitals to specialize so that you can go to a number of hospitals, for example, pulmonology or cardiology. In this way, doctors gain more experience in treating certain diseases and thus improve care.

According to Kuipers, Dutch people sometimes forget that they live in an ideal environment due to the many facilities in the country. “In America – where I also worked – the first hospital is about 300 kilometers away.”


On Friday, Kuipers will chair his first coronavirus press conference and it will be clear whether the lockdown will be extended. He does not want to prejudge decisions. “We’ll let OMT’s advice settle on us first.”

Kuipers said he would like to consider shortening the quarantine period. In principle, it will now take ten days. “If it can be shorter, we should look into it.”

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