AntwerpThirty general practitioners gathered on the Operaplein on Thursday afternoon to sing ‘Nieuwjaarke Zoete’. By giving up work, they are protesting the corona policy, which they believe does not invest enough in primary care and prevention. “The situation is alarming,” says Tim Joye, general practitioner at Medicine for the People. “More and more GPs are thinking about stopping, there is already a huge shortcoming.”
The Opera in Antwerp will not be open again for the time being, so the GPs of Medicine for the People from Deurne and Hoboken just used the stairs to sing: “That keeps us warm,” says GP Joye. “Our phone has been on red hot since the fourth wave. You can count on the fact that the much requested omnikron variant among people has many questions about it. Contact tracing has also been phased out this summer, so all questions and concerns can be addressed to us. Between regular care, that is simply no longer tenable.”
The campaigners now for more self-tests and better organized test centers: “With local prevention initiatives such as the covid coaches in Antwerp, there was a noticeable improvement at the end of last year, but a huge number of those projects were phased out after the third wave. Fewer test centers, fewer contact tracers, fewer covid coaches… At no point did the ministers Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) and Beke (CD&V) give us the impression in the autumn that they are listening to our needs and expectations. can make, but that only leads to more questions aimed at the GP.”
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In addition, it is up to the government to provide better guidance for all those who are infected from quarantine, says Joye. “A positive test of any high-risk contact is a hassle every time. Unclear rules that change changes, in addition all the practical questions and around, childcare… We need to relaunch the concept of local covid coaches and contact tracing, and make it a really strong structure this time. No less than 100 million euros was provided for the contract of the Flemish Government with the commercial call centers. In the middle of the fourth wave we discover through the press that some centers have used part of those resources on other assignmentssuch as selling garden furniture. What are we waiting for this money to shift to the frontline? It will be better spent than now.”
Also next Thursday, the general practitioners of Medicine for the People will stop working.
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