Introduction to the Dutch Healthcare system – Huisartsenpraktijk Ben-Tita – Eindhoven
Aalsterweg 181 (2e etage) 5644 RA Eindhoven Tel:0402112935 TOETS 3 0402110287‬
Header afbeelding

Introduction to the Dutch Healthcare system

The Dutch Healthcare system works in layers. The first layer is for everyday and chronic medical care and handles more than 90% of all medical problems. It consists of general practitioners/family doctors (huisarts, GP), laboratory and X-ray facilities (usually inside a hospital), pharmacies (apotheek), physiotherapists (fysiotherapeut, training and massage of musculoskeletal problems), psychologists (psycholoog), midwives (verloskundige, for pregnancy and delivery), nursing homes and organizations for care at your home address.

Every Dutch citizen and foreign resident has to enlist with their own general practitioner. The GP is responsible for your medical records and delivers personal, easy accessible care and guidance if you have a medical problem. All other medical professionals report back to your GP.

If necessary your doctor can refer you to a specialist (e.g. cardiologist, gynecologist) in the hospital (ziekenhuis). Together with all hospitalized care and regional psychiatric services they form the second layer. The third layer is formed by specialists in academic/university hospitals. They are only consulted in the most difficult cases by a colleague from the 2nd layer.

So, except for emergencies, you cannot visit the hospital without a referral letter from your general practitioner.


All your medical records are kept with your GP in a digital database. It can only be accessed by your own GP, his office members and his replacement in Eindhoven during absence. There are plans for a nationwide doctor web so that every doctor and hospital in the Netherlands can access every file in case of emergency but this is not yet operational. It’s possible to object to this exchange of your medical records or even only certain parts of it.

Dutch law forbids the every health professional to talk about your case with someone else, unless with your permission. There are a few exceptions to this rule: consultation of another doctor to ensure best care (e.g. a specialist), assumed permission if unable to answer (e.g. informing the family when a patient is in a coma), children under 12 towards their parents, matters of life and death (another persons health is at serious risk if secrecy is kept).