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Waiting lists for mental healthcare reduce the chance people keep or find a job

22 August 2023
Long waiting lists for specialized mental health care reduce the probability that people keep their job or find a new one, with high costs for society, according to research by econometrician Roger Prudon of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Prudon explains his research in economic policy magazine ESB and the newspapers NRC and Het Financieele Dagblad.

There are long waiting lists for mental health care (ggz) in the Netherlands. Roger Prudon, a PhD candidate specialized in the labour market and healthcare, studied the effect of that long waiting time on the probability that people stay employed. A long waiting time has a negative effect on employment. Every extra month on the waiting list reduces the chances of someone having a job in the long term by two percentage points, as Prudon shows.

"The two main possible explanations are a deterioration in health, or a growing distance to the labour market," the ESB article reads. "An extra month of waiting for treatment can mean that someone stays at home sick for an extra month, making the return to work more difficult."

The long waiting times are thus not only distressing for those in need of care, but also result in high social costs. "If the waiting time can be reduced by one month, this would save more than three hundred million euros a year," Prudon stated in the ESB article.

Read the ESB article 

Read the article in NRC

Read the article in Het Financieele Dagblad 

Read the research 

© Photo: Janus van den Eijnden