(In)famous Healthcare Customs

Elsewhere in this XPat Journal, you have read about what to expect when visiting a specialist and about mental health care for expats. In this article, we will go into the rules and regulations surrounding the (in)famous referral note, and the (in)famous custom of home births. One of the first issues that is always stressed when describing the Dutch medical system to newcomers is the need for a referral notice. It boils down to the fact that, if you want your visit to a specialist to be covered by your insurance, you will need to submit a referral notice (either with the specialist or your insurance company, depending on your insurance policy), issued by your GP, proving that he thought the visit was necessary. And: Abundant are the horror stories of having a baby in the Netherlands: you must give birth at home, not with a gynecologist, but a midwife, and they are not even allowed to administer pain medication! As always, there is an element of truth – which lies at the basis of rumors gone wild.

Stephanie Dijkstra
2015 Summer

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