Important announcements in the Proposed Budget 2013

September 19, 2013

What are the most important announcements in the budget for 2013 from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport? Nardo van der Meer and Rob Slappendel present their vision of - according to their opinion - two major developments for professionals in the healthcare sector.

Patient safety and quality

In the Budget the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport writes: "To improve processes for handling citizens' complaints, 2014 will see the introduction of the Healthcare Counter (Zorgloket). Healthcare providers and manufacturers must also submit their compulsory (crisis) reports to the counter. The Healthcare Inspectorate (IGZ) will use this information for monitoring and enforcement purposes. There will also be proposals for 'good management' in the healthcare sector."

Endowed professor of patient safety Rob Slappendel: "It is good that patient safety is receiving a boost from the government. Following other sectors such as road traffic, aviation and industry, the healthcare sector is now under the microscope for significantly increasing (patient) safety. The safety themes have been identified (infection prevention, medication safety, communication and transfer) so that targeted efforts can be made for safeguarding and implementation. The only concern is that the inspection visits the right institutions that report an incident/crisis. This can reduce the blame-free-reporting culture. It is therefore better to visit institutions thematically at random. On the other hand the enforcement of evidence based themes will significantly increase patient safety. There are also plenty of examples that demonstrate that better safety increases quality and reduces healthcare costs."

Controlling expenses

On this issue the VWS says: "Structural adjustments are necessary. In 2014, Minister Edith Schippers and State Secretary Martin van Rijn (VWS) will also reinforce this to ensure that healthcare offers good quality, is accessible and affordable. As a result of successful agreements with the healthcare sector the insured package remains in place and it is assumed that there will be a reduction in healthcare premiums in 2014."

Professor Nardo van der Meer: "The Minister must not and cannot leave this up to the healthcare insurers. They must not and cannot take control; that is the same as asking the wolf to mind the sheep. The disadvantage is that a completely free inspection of this kind of information affects the market forces in the healthcare sector promoted by the Minister. However proper control and regulation of this element would be appropriate. The data could be used for an appropriate price/performance ratio in the healthcare sector for the Netherlands as a whole and 'best practice' will emerge as a matter of course. As healthcare institutions learn from each other, the desired volume in the healthcare sector can increase in the budget."

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