Role of the GP in the Netherlands

In brief

In brief

  • In the Netherlands, almost everyone has their own GP.
  • The GP is your first point of contact for questions about your physical and mental health.
  • The GP is a healthcare specialist. GPs can answer most of your general health questions and also performs minor surgical procedures and standard examinations.
  • Your GP serves as your link to most other services, such as other medical specialists or hospitalization if necessary.
Different in the Netherlands

Role of the GP

For many newcomers, the main difference between medical care in the Netherlands and their home country is the central role of the GP.

In the Netherlands, almost everyone has their own GP. The GP knows you and your family (if applicable) and is familiar with your situation and your health issues. The GP is your first point of contact for questions about your physical and mental health.

The GP can answer most of your general health questions. The GP also performs minor surgical procedures and, for example, standard gynaecological and paediatric examinations. It is normal for children to be seen by a GP. In the Netherlands, paediatricians generally only see children with special needs or conditions.

A healthcare specialist

GP is a healthcare specialist

A GP is a healthcare specialist. All GPs have received 3 years of specialist training after a general 6-year medical education. A GP is required by law to regularly update his or her skills and re-register every 5 years.

A GP is also trained to determine when you need to be seen by another healthcare specialist. Therefore, your GP also serves as your link to most other services, such as other medical specialists or hospitalization if necessary. You can’t visit a medical specialist in the hospital without a referral from your GP.

Read more about how the training of GPs is arranged in the Netherlands.

Coordinates your healthcare

GP coordinates the healthcare you need

Your GP coordinates the healthcare that you need and keeps your medical records up to date and confidential. Your GP keeps an overview of your medical history and any current symptoms or medical issues. Feel free to talk to your GP about information or services that you feel you need.

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