With the registration, GPs want to gain a better view of vulnerable patients who are no longer sent to hospital in consultation between the patient and the GP. This concerns patients at home, but also in small-scale residential care centers where there is no nurse. “I call that the IC beds of the GP. We can show this care better, also because of the hard work due to the home care and the grief of the families involved.”
From this week on, GPs can register patients who have not been tested, but who have been seriously ill or have died. They can also retroactively enter deaths in recent weeks. “Every GP practice now has its own list of these suspected corona deaths.”
It remains to be seen whether all GPs will participate. “If 50 percent of the general practitioners participate, we can get a realistic picture of the number of deaths in the Netherlands,” Cals thinks. He doesn’t dare say how many more people will be killed. “I’m careful about that, but I think there will be tens of percent on top of the official registrations.”
But how do you know whether the GP’s opinion is also correct? That is not certain, Cals acknowledges. “You may get a little over-registered, but we have learned a lot about this disease in a short time, especially in Brabant and Limburg.” He wants the figures to be kept separately, in addition to those of RIVM.
Nevertheless, he is confident in the opinion of the GPs. “It is such an unprecedented image that makes them recognize an infection well.” Moreover, according to Cals, it often concerns people who have been around someone who has been tested positive, for example a partner or fellow residents in a care center.
“The addition of clinical suspects will provide a more complete picture of the impact of corona on the Dutch population. This will also allow you to better determine where and when the measures can be relaxed.” RIVM also thinks this registration is a good idea. Last Wednesday, director Jaap van Dissel said in the House of Representatives that he hoped it would be soon. Cals and his colleagues expect to be able to share the first figures next week.