The Netherlands has good quality health care. Some important things to know:
The huisarts (family doctor or General Practitioner) is central in the Dutch health care system. This is usually the biggest difference to newcomersIn the Netherlands, the family doctor acts as the gatekeeper to the healthcare system. Most treatments in hospital will not be reimbursed by the healthcare insurance, unless you have been referred by your family doctor. For finding a GP in your neighborhood please check: www.kiesuwhuisarts.nl
The relationship between patient and medical services is constantly changing and responding to individual patient needs. Do not be afraid to ask for the information/services that you want or feel comfortable with. Your insurance company is a good source of information about what is possible and what is not.
Family doctors treat patients for non-surgical problems, and many also perform minor surgical procedures. They can answer most general health questions, and serve as a link with other medical services. On their referral, you can visit a specialist, whom you can choose, provided your insurance company has an agreement with that specialist. (If not, you will have to pay for it yourself.)
Register with a doctor once you know where you will be living. Finding a doctor can be difficult because many doctors have a waiting list. You are entitled to an orientation consultation before deciding which practice you would like to join.
Especially in smaller towns, once you have registered, it can be difficult to change doctors.
Outside regular hours call the Centrale Huisartsen Post (CHP) to consult a doctor or a pharmacist.
Antibiotics and other medications are prescribed with great reserve. This has resulted in a very low incidence of antibiotic resistant infections.
Tests are not done automatically and annual check-ups are only part of the basic service when they are necessary. Private clinics offer this service, but they are expensive and are not covered by Dutch insurers.
Pregnancy and childbirth are considered natural conditions. (Pain relief is only available in a hospital.)
Abortions can be performed in the Netherlands up until a fetus is viable outside of the mother's body, which is generally the 24th week of pregnancy.