As the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in Uusimaa in early 2020, we undertook extensive measures to prepare both to care for patients and to combat the disease.
Because of preparing for the coronavirus pandemic and caring for coronavirus patients, we were obliged to cut down significantly on our elective services. We were able to address the care deficit that accrued during the spring in early summer, and with exceptional measures we were able to continue this during the summer holidays. We were able to increase the number of elective surgical procedures considerably in the period from June to December, despite the still ongoing pandemic. At the end of the year, there were 2,936 patients who had been waiting for inpatient care for more than 6 months, as opposed to 1,066 at the same time in the previous year.
We estimate that the care deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic stood at a minimum of EUR 125 million at the end of 2020.
Central government reimbursed only part of the pandemic costs
Between March and October 2020, HUS accumulated EUR 187 million in costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The EUR 90 million grant received from the central government covered only 48% of these costs. The grant we received was significantly smaller than those received by other hospital districts, on average. We were also granted EUR 35 million as reimbursement for the costs of border crossing testing, of which EUR 22.7 million was allocated to 2020.
Because of the massive acquisition of personal protective equipment for use and for emergency supply storage due to the coronavirus pandemic, the value of the inventory of HUS Logistics increased more than fivefold, from a normal EUR 10 million to EUR 52 million.
Investments made because of the coronavirus pandemic mainly involved equipment required for testing, acquired by the Diagnostic Center. These urgent procurements, which were beyond the scope of the established investment program, totaled EUR 3 million. HUS was reimbursed by the central government for a total of EUR 5 million in equipment investments required because of the pandemic.
Coronavirus prompted agreement with Synlab
In September, we entered into a lease agreement with Synlab whereby we rented facilities and equipment for virus analytics for a period of 10 months. The cost of this lease was about EUR 100 million, which the Government undertook to cover. This was a vital measure for implementing the national coronavirus strategy in testing at border crossing points.