Voorstelling van hoe het Delta Medical Center eruit ziet. © Siemens Healthineers

A central facility spanning roughly 80,000 square meters in the middle of the Netherlands will contain 1,500 ICU beds, triage units, diagnostic rooms, operating theaters and an on-site moratorium. That’s the solution for staying ahead of the next pandemic. A consortium of companies led by Siemens Healthineers is behind this initiative. If given the green light, it could be completed within the year.

A nationwide pool of medical personnel that every hospital would have to contribute to.

A consortium of companies has developed this plan for a full-service pandemic medical facility named ‘Delta Medical Center’ so as to avoid a lockdown in the event of a future pandemic. Such a pandemic clinic would draw on a “national reserve” of medical and nursing personnel that will be established.

Avoiding the scaling back of regular healthcare

The term “national reserve” refers to a nationwide pool of medical personnel that every hospital in the Netherlands must contribute to. This will ensure that the current healthcare workforce is mobilized for a crisis an innovative way. Plus, they will also receive training and education that is future-proof. The pandemic clinic will provide for all relevant needs during such a crisis situation. From food to sleeping accommodation to bus services.

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    The facility’s purpose is to avoid the scaling back of regular healthcare in the event of another pandemic. The Delta Medical Center is also intended to assume an important role during a crisis when it comes to the central coordination and logistics concerning patients in the Netherlands.

    50,000 healthy years of life lost in the first wave

    According to the initiators, this kind of “pandemic clinic” is the answer for the future. At the moment – not unjustifiably – all efforts are focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet a vision for the future seems to be lacking. One of the biggest problems with the current pandemic is the disruption of the healthcare infrastructure. Due to the high caseload of COVID-19 patients, other patients are frequently put on hold due to capacity problems. The Netherlands currently has a maximum of 2400 ICU beds; therefore, an additional 1500 beds would mean a considerable expansion.

    According to calculations by the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), at least 50,000 healthy years of life were lost in the first corona wave alone due to the postponement of non-COVID-19 related treatments. Things are no different in the current second wave. During the Christmas week, healthcare was again scaled down and all scheduled “non-acute care” in hospitals was halted until further notice.

    Operational within five days

    The project entails a public sector-private sector partnership with a 20-year concession period. The facility has a flexible setup and can be fully operational within five days. Twenty percent of the structure can be ready to use within 48 hours. In addition to Siemens Healthineers, the plan involves the JanSnel construction company, Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Medexs ( operating theater builder) and Dräger, a respiratory equipment company, among others.

    Aftercare for corona patients is also vital, as can be read here.

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    About the author

    Author profile picture Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian design. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contributions to progress.