Living in The Hague?
Healthcare in The Hague
The Netherlands offers a comprehensive healthcare system with plenty of top-notch health centers and hospitals. Particularly bigger cities like The Hague have specialized hospitals and international medical staff who cater to the expat community. In 2016, the country invested over 10% of its GDP — more than 7.7 billion USD — in the health sector to ensure top-quality care.
All people living in The Hague or anywhere else in the Netherlands must have health insurance. This obligation was settled in the Health Insurance Act (Zorgverzekeringswet), according to which every resident has to have access to basic healthcare.
The Public Health Department
The Public Health Department in The Hague consists of different sections, the most important of them being featured in this list:
- Nowadays, the epidemiology section also provides information on public health. You can get free materials on various health-related topics from nutrition to prenatal care at their information center (Westeinde 128).
- The public (mental) healthcare office (OGGZ) is in charge of medical care and social support for vulnerable residents in need (e.g. homeless people or addicts).
- The section for infectious disease control and hygiene is responsible for fighting and preventing infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, as well as controlling environmental health. In addition to this, they offer advice on travel health and tropical diseases, monitor health issues and hygiene in childcare, and run the Center for Sexual Health.
- The department for children’s health services has to ensure the healthy development of all residents under the age of 20, from toddler to young adult. They are part of The Hague’s Center for Children and Families.
- As the name suggests, the ambulance care section provides medical assistance and emergency transportation.
If you have any enquiries or issues you need help with, you can visit the main office in The Hague, located on Westeinde 128.
Choosing Your General Practitioner
The Dutch healthcare system allows you to choose your general practitioner freely. You may want to pick one who has a practice near your house or workplace or one recommended by your friends or colleagues. Of course, you can always try to find a doctor yourself.
Simply visit the website of Zorgkaartnederland; type in “Den Haag” under “Zoek op zorgaanbieder, persoon, plaats of postcode” and click “Zoeken”. You will then get a list of doctor’s practices in The Hague. By clicking on one of the categories on the right-hand side, you can further specify your search.
Click on “Huisarts” for a list of general practitioners. For a pediatrician, you need to look for “Kinderarts”; searching for “Tandarts” will give you a list of dentists in The Hague, and if you need an ob/gyn, just look for “Gynecoloog”.
Doctors and the Language Barrier
Expats living in The Hague do not all speak perfect Dutch, of course. By the same token, not every doctor in The Hague will be fluent in English or another foreign language, even though the Netherlands in general is the 2017 world leader in English proficiency. Nonetheless, dealing with complicated medical issues and the language barrier at the same time can make communicating difficult.
However, your doctor can call “Tolk- en Vertaalcentrum Nederland (TVcN)” and make use of their interpretation and translation service. The interpreter can listen along on the phone and translate what your doctor is saying. In some cases, an interpreter can even accompany you to your appointment. As long as your doctor makes the request, you will not have to pay for these services.
In Case of Emergency
The emergency number to call in the Netherlands is 112. Moreover, each of the seven hospitals in The Hague has an emergency room which is open 24 hours per day.
SMASH can provide emergency GP care outside of office hours, on weekends and public holidays. Their number is 070 346 9669. For dental emergencies, get in touch with Tandarts Spoedgevallendienst Haaglanden. They are available 24/7 via 070 311 0305.
You can find further details about emergency contacts on the official website of Den Haag.
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