How are the training and quality of GPs arranged in the Netherlands?

In brief

In brief

  • A GP has received 3 years of specialty GP training after 6 years of basic medical training.
  • Every 5 years, GPs have to prove that they are still capable (reregistration).
  • The GP training programme and the rules for reregistration are monitored by the Registration Committee for Medical Specialists.
GP training

General practitioner (GP) training

A GP has received 3 years of specialty GP training after 6 years of basic medical training.

What does GP training involve? Important elements are:

  • Carrying out consultations in the practice of a GP trainer
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Performing procedures (minor surgical procedures, stitching wounds, putting in a contraceptive coil (intrauterine device, IUD)
  • Making home visits, often to seriously ill bedridden patients
  • Treating chronic diseases in a treatment team
  • Conducting conversations and providing information to patients
  • Prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, breast cancer and cervical cancer
  • Providing psychiatric care

GPs in training spend 4 days a week working in what is called the training practice. They spend 1 day a week attending lectures and tutorials at the university. The GP in training does this during the 1st and 3rd year of the training programme.

In the 2nd year of training, the future GP spends:

  • 6 months working in the emergency department of a hospital
  • 3 months in an institution for long-term care, such as a nursing home
  • 3 months in psychiatry
Reregistration

Reregistration

Every 5 years, GPs have to prove that they are still capable.

To do so, they must:

  • have spent enough hours working as a GP during the day, evening and night
  • have taken enough hours of refresher training in subjects of their choice
  • have been evaluated by patients and colleagues associated with their practice: this is called a visitatie ('assessment').
  • in addition, many GPs have their practice building, how they operate their practice, hygiene, working procedure, and plans for improvement evaluated by a special certification agency for GPs (in Dutch)

If GPs satisfy these conditions, they are reregistered for 5 years.

Monitoring

Monitoring of the quality and the rules of the training programme and reregistration

The GP training programme and the rules for reregistration are monitored by the Registration Committee for Medical Specialists (Registratiecommissie Geneeskundig Specialismen, RGS). This ensures that you deal with GPs who have organised their affairs properly and are well informed.

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