Antwerp hospital becomes one of biggest in Europe after merger approval

The Belgian Competition Authority has approved the long-awaited merger between Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen and GasthuisZusters Antwerpen. The hospital, now known as Ziekenhuis aan de Stroom (ZAS), was officially opened on Wednesday with the unveiling of a new logo.

Ziekenhuis aan de Stroom ("hospital by the river") has 9,000 employees, 1,000 doctors and 3,300 beds in 14 locations. This makes it the largest hospital in Belgium and one of the largest in Europe.

While the two former Antwerp hospitals have been working together as a group since 2016, "the road to the merger was long and challenging", said chair Els van Doesburg at the opening ceremony. "This story is about the future of healthcare in our city and beyond."

The competition authority attached a number of conditions to its approval of the merger on Monday. It considered that the merger could lead to less competition and therefore higher prices for patients. In response, the two hospitals offered commitments to remedy the anti-competitive effects of their merger.

According to CEO Willeke Dijkhoffz, the merger will create more investment opportunities and an investment fund has been set up for this purpose. Patients will not see any major changes, apart from a change in the logo and the names of the buildings.


#FlandersNewsService | ZAS Cadix © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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