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The Netherlands Healthcare System

The health system in the Netherlands is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. It is the only country to be consistently in the top three of the Euro health consumer index since 2005, due to the high standard of care and relatively low costs involved. The Netherlands spend over 10% of their GDP on healthcare, funded through non-profit public health insurance premiums and employer contributions. Health insurance has been compulsory since 2006, meaning that healthcare is accessible to all at an affordable cost. There is a high degree of patient empowerment in the Netherlands healthcare system. Patient and healthcare professionals make decisions together, and people are free to choose the doctor, hospital and treatment that suits them best.

Primary Healthcare

The primary echelon in the Netherlands healthcare system is the huisarts (General Practitioner). They deal with routine health issues and perform standard gynaecological and paediatric examinations. They act as guardians of the system, and you need a referral from them to see a specialist or get hospital treatment.  It is essential to register with a huisarts as soon as you have health insurance. Most Dutch doctors speak English well, but there are often clinics specialising in expatriate care in areas with a large international community, such as Eindhoven and Amsterdam. Dutch doctors tend to be non-interventionist in nature. By design, the Netherlands has the lowest use of antibiotics in Europe. Resulting in a reassuringly stabilised antimicrobial resistance. This reticence to prescribe medication often confuses newcomers, but you just need to be direct and communicate what you need. If you need treatment or a referral, you will receive it, free of charge.

Dutch Hospitals

Non-profit foundations run Dutch Hospitals, and they are generally very modern, clean and highly equipped. There are 93 hospitals in the Netherlands healthcare system, including 8 academic university hospitals where you can receive specialised or complex treatments. Once your huisarts has given you a referral, you are entitled to choose the hospital you prefer. You can check their performance on comparison websites such as zorginzicht.nl. Waiting times are relatively low compared to other European countries, less than 4 weeks to see a specialist or to have elected surgery. Hospital wards are spacious with usually less than six beds, each with a TV and phone. The Netherlands provides 24-hour emergency care, either through an out of hours doctor or the hospital emergency room. You should call first to let them know you are coming. For an ambulance, you can call the national emergency number 112.

Additional Care Providers

A pharmacist (apotheek) is usually attached to your GP practice and can issue controlled medications.  Medical records are shared electronically with all healthcare providers unless you refuse permission. Dentists are often located in multidisciplinary clinics alongside family doctors, midwives, psychologists and physiotherapists. After registering, you will get a check-up every 6 months. You can take out an extra insurance package to cover expensive dental treatments. Mental health and physiotherapy are also partially covered by health insurance, although you need a referral from your GP. Your insurance package may also include many alternative therapies such as chiropractors, Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Holland is internationally recognised as one of the leading countries for maternity care, and their post-natal nursing is second to none. Children’s health is given high priority in the Netherlands healthcare system, there is a free national vaccination program and children are given regular wellness controls throughout their childhood.

The Netherlands Health System – Mundialz

Mundialz understands that moving abroad for work involves many factors, and we aim to provide you with answers to all your burning questions over healthcare, insurance and immigration. Once we’ve matched you with your perfect job, we continue to offer you support and guidance throughout the whole relocation process.

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