The long-term plan to close Antonius Hospital in Sneek and Tjungershan in Heerenveen has not gone well in the respective municipalities. They deplore the lack of communication and fear access to care.
The two hospitals plan to establish one new site in Gouri. Viewed from Noordoostpolder and Urk, healthcare is coming close.
“The news really surprised us,” says an alderman from Heerenveen municipality, Sebrig Sitsma. against Omrop Fryslan. “Yesterday, we learned that this news will be released today. It came like a thunderbolt from the sky.”
Sitsma knew research was being done to make health care future proof, but the municipality was very surprised that a result had already come out.
Its fellow municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, which includes Sneek, is no less surprised. “We were very surprised that it was communicated this way and that they exclusively chose one scenario which is a new hospital in Goree. Why would you choose one scenario that you still have to calculate and look at?”
Both municipalities are concerned with what the decision means in practice. “We’re concerned about our residents who may be dependent on the hospital and employees who suddenly see their employer relocate. And what that means for our economy,” Sitsma asks.
Pullman has the same concerns. “The population doesn’t know what it’s going to look like and neither do we. The research that has to show that this would be a best-case scenario is not included.”
But the question is what municipalities can do about it. They have no say in the decision. This is determined by the hospitals and health insurance companies themselves.
“We know something needs to be done with this care,” Pullman says. “But accessible care is already difficult to achieve. You can’t imagine that the largest municipality in the Netherlands will not have a hospital soon.”
“never do right”
Antonius Hospital Chairman Marcel Quinn says in response to criticism that it is a matter between hospitals and health insurance companies. The two had been talking about the future for years. Eventually, the collaboration between the hospitals will lead to the creation of a new hospital that, due to its location, will fit well into the catchment areas. “It’s such a far-reaching decision, you can never do it right,” Quinn says. “All parties directly involved in the course of events in hospitals sat around the table. Municipalities were also informed of the decision, but not in detail.”
Quinn confirms that there is still time. All defects must be taken into account. If there are still problems that need to be resolved, they will be carefully considered. The chairman of the board does not expect anything to change before 2030.
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