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Many health systems have attempted to centralise acute hospital services and there is now a good understanding of the impact that this approach has. However, the thinking underpinning this kind of centralisation has not always been as evidence based as we would wish.
Recent proposals to change the pattern of acute hospital services in the Netherlands - including further centralisation of services and the rationalisation of some emergency care - are driven by a number of arguments such as the benefits of scale and consolidation and the staffing constraints being experienced in many hospitals – particularly smaller units. This has implications for ambulance services and the wider impact of hospital changes on the communities they serve which tend to receive less attention in these planning exercises.
This virtual seminar brought together key stakeholders, including Dutch hospital managers, to explore these key issues further, reviewed the evidence behind changing the pattern of acute hospital services in the Netherlands, and examined the factors to consider when planning these significant service changes. This event also looked at hospital changes in other countries in Europe and alternative approaches to centralisation. This was an opportunity to ask questions and offer input on broader issues on hospital changes.