Emergency care reconfiguration in the Netherlands: Conflicting interests and trade-offs from a multidisciplinary perspective

Nanne Van Velzen, Richard Janssen, Marco Varkevisser*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many countries are reconfiguring their emergency care systems to improve quality and efficiency of care, and this often includes the concentration of emergency departments (EDs). This trend is evident in the Netherlands, but the best approach is the subject of debate among stakeholders. We (i) examined the views of stakeholders on the concentration of EDs in the Netherlands and (ii) identified the main conflicting interests and trade-offs that are relevant for health policy. To do this, we organised focus groups and semi-structured interviews with emergency care professionals, hospital executives and selected external stakeholders. First, the participants saw both advantages and disadvantages to concentration, but these were also contested and debated. Second, we found that - sometimes conflicting - public health care goals (i.e. quality, accessibility and affordability) and narrower interests (e.g. the interests of specific hospitals, insurers, medical specialists and local administrators) were both pointed out. Third, there was no clear preferred approach to the future organisation of EDs, although most stakeholders mentioned some form of centralised decision-making at the national level, combined with regional customisation. Our findings will facilitate health policy decision-making around the reconfiguration of emergency care with the long-term goal of achieving efficient and high-quality emergency care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Economics, Policy and Law
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jun 2023

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press.


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