Dutch socialists demand greater expenditure on municipal health services

Last week, the Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands demanded adequate funding for the Municipal Health Services (GGD) in the country to bolster preventive measures against any health crisis

December 07, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Municipal Health Services-Netherlands
COVID-19 testing at the Municipal Health Service (GGD) unit in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

On Wednesday, December 2, the Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands demanded adequate funding for the Municipal Health Services (GGD) in the country to bolster preventive measures against any health crisis. The SP had brought out a report in November titled ‘Investing now in GGD’, which calls for strengthening the municipal health organization responsible for preventive healthcare in the Netherlands. The GGDs are involved in vaccinating people, as well as monitoring, advising and informing people, particularly children, travelers and the elderly, about (preventive) medical care. 

The SP has said that negligence by successive governments has weakened the GGDs. “For decades there has been a call to invest more in prevention to prevent bad health. Let’s use the corona crisis to actually do this. This includes a central role for the GGD, led by the government. Sufficient structural funding should also be included. Our health is far too important to neglect,” SP stated.

In its report, the SP demanded the government

stop the cuts in municipal health services and opt for investments and financing for the GGDs through a prevention fund. It also recommended maintaining up-to-date capacity standards which are set for tasks such as infectious diseases and medical environmental science and must be met. There should also be formulation of concrete prevention goals, inclusion of public mental health care in the purview of the public health act, and the establishment of a national basic prevention package. In addition, health promotion must be made a statutory implementation task of the GGDs.

SP’s spokesman for public health, Henk van Gerven stated, “the expenditure for the GGD currently amounts to only 1% of all expenditure in health care. Investing more in the GGD leads to more health and well-being and less sickness and healthcare expenditure. So let’s start with that now. Everyone benefits from that.”

The GGDs are responsible for most of the COVID-19 testing, tracing the source of infection, and maintaining a contact list of the infected people. As of December 4, around 543,924 COVID-19 infections have been detected in the Netherlands, with 9,623 deaths. 

The SP had also earlier endorsed the #Right2Cure petition initiated by European leftist parties, calling on the European Union to ensure free availability of a future COVID-19 vaccine or drug.

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