The Health Care Professionals
The first step in healthcare in the Netherlands is to purchase. It is mandatory for everyone to purchase at least a base level of insurance, even if you already have an existing policy that covers you in the Netherlands.
The first point of contact in getting is to register with a doctor (huisarts in Dutch) or general practitioner (GP).To search and find a doctor near you, go to the Doctena website and enter your location. You can also visit your Gemeentehuis (town / city hall) and ask for a gemeentegids (a booklet issued by your municipality containing information about doctors, sports groups, day care, etc.), which will have a list of all the local GPs. There is the possibility that the GP of your choice is not available as they are not accepting new patients or for location reasons.
The Dutch healthcare system is divided into three categories:
- Long-term care for chronic conditions, including disability costs like wheelchairs, is covered by mandatory state insurance
- Basic and essential medical care, from GP visits to short-term hospital stays and specialist appointments or procedures. All regular (short-term) medical treatment is paid for by mandatory private health insurance.
- Supplementary care (e.g. dental care, physiotherapy, cosmetic procedures). May be covered under health insurance, depending on the policy, or be paid for out of pocket. Depending on the health insurance, this could cover up to 75 percent of the cost. Dentists list their prices on their website and insurance companies have comparable lists of how much they will cover for each service, allowing people to choose their own level of care and expenditure.
For international students there is not always the requirement to take out a Dutch health insurance. Current situation and a variety of factors, such as the length of your stay and whether you are also working part-time.
The first point of contact for healthcare is always Doctors & General practitioners (GPs) as they provide referrals to all specialists and, if necessary, to a hospital. A doctor also makes the occasional house-calls where necessary. A weekend (out-of-office service) practice is always available. Keep in mind this may not be your doctor, however the acting physician at that moment. The doctor on duty varies from area to area, so the service will provide the name and number of the physician on duty near you or have the doctor call you.
In the Netherlands, the GP holds a central role when it comes to healthcare. As a specialist in healthcare the link to any specialist required, trained to determine whether there is need for the help of a specialist. Therefore, any questions regarding physical and mental health, the GP is the first one to ask. In addition, a GP can also perform minor surgical procedures and carry out pediatric and gynecological examinations. This does not include any dental treatments.
Some health-related reasons to contact a GP are;
- urgent medical needs (call 112 in the case of life-threatening situations)
- questions or need advice required regarding health issues (also for family members)
- physical complaints and / or mental health issues
- first aid and minor surgical procedures (stitches etc.)
- support and treatment for a chronic disease
- For preventative medicine (vaccines etc.)
For any registration, a valid ID, BSN and health insurance details are required. Also, not required for registration, however vital for a proper health care, medical records from home country and, if applicable, a list of medications.
Dentistry is privatised in the Netherlands and not covered by basic insurance policies (except for children under 18 and specialist dental care, such as surgery).
- Dentists usually work in their own practice or with one or more dentist per practice.
- Dental surgeons are usually affiliated with a hospital
- Orthodontists work in private practice. For which you require a referral. In larger cities, there are also dental hygiene practices, which you don’t need a referral to visit.
The Hospitals in the Netherlands provide a high level of care, with greater specialisation in different areas. There are three categories:
- Academic, for specialist care and research.
- Teaching, for training healthcare practitioners.
- General, for less specialised care.
Medicine & Pharmacies
Prescription medicines are only available through the local pharmacy. A registration with your local pharmacy is required to fill prescriptions.