The Ministry of Health (VWS) will no longer assess the advice of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) before they are published. Minister Ernst Kuipers (D66) said this on Tuesday in a debate in the House of Representatives about the ministry’s involvement in the OMT recommendations. Kuipers thus took over the proposal from SP member Maarten Hijink.
Last February, the television program Nieuwsuur revealed, on the basis of Wob documents, that the ministry had successfully requested adjustments to the texts of OMT advice at the start of the corona crisis. This often involved clarifications, but sometimes substantive changes. For example, the original version of one of the recommendations did not state that wearing a face mask in elderly care was not recommended. This was stated in the final version, at the request of an official of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Also read: ‘Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport interfered several times with the text of OMT recommendations’
During Tuesday’s debate, Kuipers said that “many” of the officials’ comments about the OMT recommendations were for “clarification”, but he also said that VWS’s involvement in the recommendations has in any case led to the “appearance of that has been sent in one way or another.” Until then, Kuipers had always claimed that this interference had gone no further than asking for clarification of certain texts.
Kuipers still wants OMT recommendations to be assessed before publication by the Administrative Coordination Consultation (BAO), a team of officials from, among others, the Health Care and Youth Inspectorate, the Association of Dutch Municipalities and the GGD-GHOR. But he promised that any changes that result will be recorded in future.
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