Finding a doctor
In the Netherlands, patients choose their own doctor. It is useful to choose one close to home. This has advantages in case of an emergency: doctors should be able to get to an emergency in fifteen minutes. Many practices have both male and female doctors. Inform them of any preferences.
Find doctors in your area using the website zorgkaartnederland.nl (fill in your postcode in the second text box and click zoek).
Although doctors in the Netherlands practice mainstream western medicine, there is a growing number of doctors who combine it with alternative treatment methods such as homoeopathy, acupuncture or anthroposophical therapy.
Visiting a doctor
It is normal practice to interview a doctor. Take any medical records with you, as this enables the doctor to assess medical history and the patient to gauge the communication. Most speak good English, but it is not their native tongue. The initial meeting will normally be charged as a consultation. There are doctors who specialise in the treatment of expats.
Health Insurance coverage and the doctor
Health insurance covers the cost of a consultation. Under a contracted care policy (naturapolis), the doctor sends his bill directly to the insurer. Under a non-contracted care policy (restitutiepolis), the doctor bills the patient and the patient declares the costs with the insurer. Please note that it is advisable, under contracted care policies, to check with an insurer which doctors are on its list. This expedites the doctor’s payment and spares the patient administration.
When to contact the doctor
The doctor should be the first point of call for all medical problems with the exception of real emergencies. If suffering from flu, a twisted ankle, abdominal pain, psychological problems, chronic illness or even gynaecological problems, contact the doctor first.
Make an appointment with the doctor by telephone. Most doctors have set surgery hours and some even give advice over the phone. If the problem is serious, the doctor may make a house call, but this is not normal practice.
Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor decides on the method of treatment. He or she can treat the problem themselves, perhaps with prescription drugs available from a chemist. Alternatively, the doctor may refer the patient to a specialist at hospital. A referral is always necessary to see a specialist except for physiotherapists or midwives.
Treatment outside surgery hours
If you urgently need a doctor in the evening, at night or during the weekend, telephone the Doctors Service Foundation of Amsterdam (SHDA, Stichting Huisartsen Dienstenposten Amsterdam) at 088 003 0600. Click here for more information on what to do in a medical emergency.
Download a PDF about healthcare in the Netherlands
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