Monitoring the effects of emergencies on public health is an important instrument in drawing up an overview of care after calamities. Much has been learnt from the tragedies in the Bijlmermeer, Enschede and Volendam about the use of pre-existing registrations by GPs, company doctors, pharmacies and others for this monitoring. This is why the NIVEL monitoring methodology is guaranteed by the centre for Health and Environment, RIVM
[Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment]. After the Enschede tragedy especially, it became apparent that the infrastructure of existing registration systems must be watched over.
Examples of infrastructural elements that are to be monitored are the coverage level of health care professionals making registrations, developments within the registration systems and privacy procedures. Hence the cooperation between NIVEL and the RIVM in keeping the monitoring methodology on ‘standby’ in order to expand it quickly in case of an emergency. The methodology is also used in other circumstances, such as in a cooperative project with the RIVM to chart the possible effects of UMTS transmitters on public health. The health effects of environmental circumstances are being partially charted with this methodology, and partially with cross-sectional measurements. This is happening around the CORUS blast furnace works in the IJmond region, for instance, and around companies using intensive animal farming in Eastern Noord-Brabant and Northwestern Limburg provinces (see 1.4 also).
Within this research topic attention is also given to Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (or MUPS), whether or not this is in connection to psychological complaints.