In the Netherlands, a family doctor (huisarts), also known as a general practitioner or GP, plays a key role in the Dutch Healthcare system and is maintaining contact with all the medical institutions you need to visit. It is therefore advisable to choose a GP carefully. The following page offers you tips and advice about different GPs and how to choose one.
There are various GPs throughout the area, but you don’t have to worry if your GP will be qualified enough: all local doctors have the same standardised approved education. This involves at least six years of medical school and six years of specialisation afterwards. All Dutch GPs are regularly checked and monitored. The difference between GPs is not their knowledge base, but their practice and approach to treatment.
A smaller or larger GP practice
There are different types of GP practices. There are smaller traditional practices, with one or a few GPs. Your contact with a GP at a small practice will be more personal. That can be positive, but it also means you have to make sure you feel comfortable talking with your GP. Especially if you have children, a GP that makes you feel understood might be important for you as an expat. You can also opt for a larger medical centre with several GPs and other medical specialists working there. This also has advantages. For example, there are more GPs to make an appointment with. All doctors at this practice can see your medical record if necessary.
Consider before choosing a doctor:
- Do you need house visits (or expect to)? What is the GP’s policy about that?
- Does the GP has an open consultation, or do you always need to make an appointment?
- Is there a specific time for patients to call?
- Do both the receptionist and the doctor speak English?
- How far is it from your home?
About number 5: the most important thing is to find a GP close to your home. Not only for you, when you need to visit the practice, but also vice versa: when the doctor needs to visit you.
How to find a doctor
You are required to register with a GP before arranging any other healthcare, so please register as soon as you know where you will be living. All the GPs in your neighbourhood are shown on this website. This website is in Dutch, but it is quite easy to understand. Fill in your postal code (four numbers, two letters: for example 3000AB) and click on the banner that says ‘Zoek Huisartsen’. The website will display the GPs that are closest to your home. The best way to find a doctor that suits your needs is to contact them via email or phone and ask for the things that are important to you. If you already know some people living in your neighbourhood, it is smart to ask them about their experiences with their local GPs.
Please note that not all small GP practices accept new patients, or may only accept patients from the area. In general, registering is easier at larger practices. Please check before registering with your insurance company to make sure they cover your chosen GP; otherwise you might have to switch GPs afterwards.
Do you need a GP outside office hours? 24/7 medical coverage is offered throughout the region, at the ‘Huisartsenpost’ or ‘HAP’, which is staffed by GPs on call. At the HAP, you can consult a doctor outside office hours; the HAP also includes a pharmacy. There are four HAPs in Rotterdam. Click on this link (Dutch) to fill in your postal code and find the Rotterdam HAP nearest you.
+31 (0)10 – 466 95 73
3045 PM Rotterdam
+31 (0)10 – 279 92 62
22906 ZC Capelle a/d IJssel
+31 (0)10 – 290 98 88
3079 DZ Rotterdam
+31 (0)181 – 62 70 55
Ruwaard van Puttenweg 5003
201 GZ Spijkenisse
Transferring your medical records
It is useful to bring along your medical records from your home country, especially if you require special care or if you visited your GP in your home country frequently. The Dutch GP can’t request access to your previous national medical records online. If necessary, you can also ask your GP in your home country to send you your data via email. However, please be aware that most GPs are reluctant to send medical records via email, as the security of patient data cannot be guaranteed.