Visiting a Specialist and Hospital Care

If you have to see a specialist in the Netherlands, you have to take a rather roundabout route to get there – at least, if you’re not used to the Dutch system. We have contributed this article to prepare you for this interesting little detour and for what to expect once you have made your appointment.

In order to make an appointment with your specialist – and to have this visit covered by your insurance company – you need to visit your GP first. With him (or her) you will discuss your problems, questions and doubts and determine whether it is necessary to see a specialist. If your GP feels that, indeed, you should, he will give you a referral notice and you will be able to make an appointment.

In the Netherlands, there are three types of hospitals: general, academic (university), and what the Dutch call ‘categoral’ hospitals. The first offer diagnosis, treatment and care – while also training doctors and nurses. The second offer the same, but are also centers of scientific research, education for medical schools, and the development of new medical technology and treatment. Consequently, they may be a few steps ahead in the availability of equipment, medication and views on treatment. The third type of hospital focuses on a particular category of patients, such as those with asthma, cancer or the need for dialysis.

Consequently, while you may wish to focus on waiting lists, you might also wish to look into whether your ailment is – from a medical point of view – standard, or whether it requires cutting-edge technology, or whether there is a center that focuses on treating your condition.

The article further goes into your visit with the specialist, the possible hospital stay, waiting lists, coverage of treatment abroad, and more.

Stephanie Dijkstra
2015 Summer

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