In November 2014, the court in Leeuwarden declared the Pasana Care Group to be insolvent. This threatened to affect the Sionsberg Hospital in Dokkum as well as the care centres for the elderly and nursing homes in North East Friesland. This led to great social unrest, political pressure and controversy. Amidst the forces were the curators of De Haan Lawyers & Solicitors, The Friesland Zorgverzekeraar [a medical insurance company] and the Stichting Continuïteit Zorgverlening Friesland [Friesland Continuity in Care Provision Foundation] that collaborated and initiated unique court proceedings. These proceedings led to a particular result: Sionsberg 2.0. as new health centre in Dokkum and a restart of all care centres for the elderly in North East Friesland. Sionsberg has a long history.
The hospital in Dokkum has existed since 1956 and was opened with the support of the residents and parishes in the area. Although the hospital developed into a fully fledged regional hospital with all basic specialties, it was the smallest hospital in the Netherlands for a long time. In the context of upscaling and efficiency, the Sionsberg became part of Pasana Zorggroep [Pasana Care Group] from Veenwouden in 2007. Two other nursing homes and multiple care centres that are located in North East Friesland and Ameland also belong to Pasana Zorggroep [Pasana Care Group].
Due to the small size and the ever increasing quality requirements, the hospital struggled to keep its head above water. After the Sionsberg was put under increased supervision by the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) in 2011, the relatively small influx of patients decreased even further. This resulted in the number of nursing days to drop to 55%.
In 2012, an administrative merger with Pasana Zorggroep [Pasana Care Group] and Nij Smellinghe Hospital in Drachten appeared to be a solution. The aim of this was to maintain a full basic hospital in Dokkum with support from Nij Smellinghe. A legal merger would happen later on.
The collaboration could not prevent the Sionsberg from encountering trouble. When a loss of € 8,800,000 was suffered in 2012, a major reorganisation was implemented, followed by a renovation to give the hospital a more compact layout. It meant certain clinical items were 'transferred' to Drachten, as well as 78 out of 130 beds. In terms of care for the elderly, closure of several locations was anticipated, including on Ameland and in Ternaard, which led to great unrest. Despite it all, the hospital recorded a loss of € 9,900,000 in 2013. The care homes achieved a profit of € 1,600,000.
In the autumn of 2014, problems were fully revealed. Due to the increasing losses, the owner of Pasana struggled with a debt of € 40,000,000 and the prospects were anything but rosy. 2014 would produce a deficit of € 2,500,000, rising to € 4,500,000 in 2015. Their principal banker ING linked consequences to this, which caused an immediate liquidity problem. The Board of the combined holding Pasana/Nij Smellinghe was forced to apply for bankruptcy late November 2014.
The hospital’s bankruptcy leads to a unique care concept.