The leadership of the Parnassia Group, the largest mental health institution in the Netherlands with a turnover of 1 billion, will have “a tough conversation” with the inspectorate next week. If necessary, the supervisor will take follow-up actions. State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Healthcare, ChristenUnie) promised this to the House of Representatives on Thursday in response to a publication about abuses by NRC, last weekend.
This showed that PsyQ, a subsidiary of Parnassia with 33 locations throughout the Netherlands, invites patients from the waiting list for intake interviews when it is known in advance that no treatment is available for them. In order to eliminate waiting lists, group treatments have become the norm for people with more serious psychological problems.
The state secretary said on Tuesday that he was “unpleasantly surprised” by the reports and has already telephoned board chairman Stephan Valk of Parnassia about this. “It’s a terrible story because people are not central.” He thinks it is a good plan that Parnassia wants to give more group treatments, but that must be done responsibly, he said. They should not be ‘pushed down people’s throats’.
The VVD calls it morally wrong what is happening at PsyQ. Blokhuis acknowledges that many mental health institutions avoid the people with the most serious problems at the expense of patients with less serious problems. That is a result of the funding. “There’s a perverse incentive in that that leads you to pick only low-hanging fruit, irreverently.”
Read the research story on PsyQ: Your depression is taking too long, our treatment stops here
The minister pointed out in the House that this financing will change from next year. “The financing will be adjusted in such a way that it becomes more attractive for providers to treat people with serious psychological distress and a specialist request for help.” But many parliamentarians are dissatisfied that the current patients will have to contend with this situation for another six months.
Blokhuis is pleased that practitioners at PsyQ sounded the alarm about the fact that financial motives influence the quality of care for patients. Next Thursday, he will have consultations with the sector and he will also bring the issue “emphatically” to the attention of mental health institutions.