The Christmas holidays are approaching. At UZ Gent, despite the new wave of coronavirus, 20% fewer beds will be available in intensive care. This choice was made so that the staff, pushed to their limits for several months, can rest. A nurse in the intensive care unit of Ghent University Hospital for 19 years, Johan van Landeghem explained the need for this choice to our colleagues from VTM NIEUWS.
“It’s all the more necessary when you see that we have to stay crowded here all day,” said the nurse, who will take a few days off between Christmas and New Years. “I think I have seven to eight days of vacation, plus a lot of overtime, ”he emphasizes, however.
“I saw a lot of people die”
Because since the start of the coronavirus crisis, leave has become scarce for nursing staff. According to him, it is also because of the policies which do not sufficiently follow the opinions of the experts. “I think that many people who really care for patients with Covid-19 have sometimes sat down with tears in their eyes watching the government again proposing weak measures,” laments the nurse.
Johan van Landeghem also explains having seen several colleagues fall ill or leave the profession, as the daily confrontation with the virus and death weighs on them. “I’ve seen a lot of people die here. It makes it very concrete for us. We don’t see numbers on the news, but we do see patients and families dying,” he recalls.
Support an exceptional effort
“In order to be able to support this exceptional and long-term effort, we are giving all employees a little rest during the Christmas period”, explained Eric Mortier, general manager of UZ Gent, about the decision of the hospital. “So we decided that everyone can keep the promised leave before the start of the fourth wave.” A well-deserved rest, before the wave of postponed care that should be caught up after Christmas. According to the spokesperson, it will be “at least as heavy as the wave of coronavirus itself”.