A bingo in a hospital, where the winner receives a shower turn. It sounds like satire, but it was a reality on Wednesday at the Ommelander Hospital in Groningen. Due to low wages and a too high workload, thirteen departments in the hospital in Groningen ran Sunday services on Wednesday. Only help that was urgent was offered. With the actions they hope to force a better collective agreement.
"The bingo sounds like a playful action, but it does indicate how high the workload is," says Elise Merlijn, director of FNV Zorg en Welzijn. "Nurses no longer have time to really shower patients."
Gerhard Tebbenhof, nurse in intensive care at Ommelander Hospital, recognizes that image. "We use less and less water in the hospital and work more and more often with wet wipes. This is partly due to safety, but above all to the fact that we have to work more efficiently. That is why people experience: you don't get in the hospital have a shower more. "
That working more efficiently increases the workload according to Tebbenhof. "We have to do more and more with fewer and fewer staff. First and foremost, this is at the expense of your breaks, but you need them and you are entitled to them. But in the long run you see that absenteeism is also increasing. be taken care of with the already tight workforce. "
"No time to pay attention to upset patients"
The nurse also sees that there is less and less time for "interpersonal contact". "It has all become very effective. Care has taken on a different meaning. Sometimes patients are upset, but we don't have the time to pay attention to that. Nurses also experience that as work pressure, because they actually wanted to do that. "
Prior to the action at Ommelander Hospital, all patients who had an appointment were informed and their appointment was postponed to another time. "We understand that it is annoying for patients and that these Sunday services cause a lot of uncertainty. Care for patients is always number one, two and three, but we have to stand up for our rights," says Merlijn.
Nurses notice that there is less and less room for "interpersonal contact". (Photo:
Negotiations on a new collective labor agreement have ceased since June
The campaigns are aimed at the Dutch Association of Hospitals (NVZ), which does not include university hospitals in the Netherlands. The collective bargaining agreements between the NVZ and the CNV, FNV, NU '91 and FBZ trade unions have been at an impasse since June. The current collective agreement expires this year.
The unions want, among other things, a salary increase of 5 percent for the two hundred thousand hospital employees who fall under the collective labor agreement. They also want an extra allowance on wages if employees suddenly have to fill a gap in the roster.
"The NVZ has not shown anything to this day, so there is no prospect of a new collective agreement," said Merlijn. "I am surprised about that and despite the fact that we have already worked Sunday services before, the NVZ remains inexorable."
However, a spokesperson for the NVZ reports that the association "wanted to continue negotiating", but that the unions "said nothing at a given moment".
See also: Absenteeism due to illness and progress in care are rising to 'alarming' record levels
"Requirements of trade unions too poor for hospitals"
However, the spokesman already knows that the demands of the trade unions for hospitals are far too poor. "They cannot cough that up and otherwise it will lead to major problems in the long term. At that moment there is simply no money for that 5 percent wage increase."
The last offer made by the NVZ to the trade unions is a three-year collective agreement, in which the wage is increased each year by 3, 15, 2 and 2.5 percent respectively. Then, according to the NVZ, the unions stepped down from the table and followed campaigns spread throughout hospitals throughout the country.
Merlin FNV director does not yet want to say what the next hospital will be on Sunday services, but it does mean that this will happen next week in a hospital in the south and north of the Netherlands. "And the following week it will be in the Randstad and the southwest."
See also: One day in care: "Even a cup of tea has not been granted to me"