The Dutch healthcare system has received international praise. This year the Netherlands are again topping the chart of the Euro Health Consumer Index. What makes the system so good? To get some answers, I caught up with old friends from the Netherlands.
The country’s philosophy is to cut costs and stimulate quality by introducing regulated competition. The Dutch have attempted to create a system that ensures universal health care, offers transparency and choice for consumers, and avoids risk selection. GPs play a key role coordinating care and preventing unnecessary use of hospitals.
Dr Pieter van den Hombergh, GP trainer and a former senior policy adviser at the Dutch Association of General Practitioners (LHV), is full of praise:
“In 2006, the country switched to a regulated market-oriented healthcare system: Insurers got purchasing power and the Government withdrew from healthcare, but set strict regulations for insurers and providers.”
Dr Jettie Bont is a GP and former board member of the Dutch Association of General Practitioners. “The Dutch health system is accessible to anyone, rich or poor, old or young,” she says. “Patients don’t have to pay a co-payment or excess payment to see their GP and we’re making sure it stays this way.”