Surviving the medical system

Dutch healthcare has been rated the best in Europe by the Euro Health Consumer Index, yet access to medical care in the Netherlands is often perceived by internationals as difficult.

General practitioner
The huisarts is a general practitioner, or GP. Whether you utilise the Student Health Care service detailed below, or register with a GP of your own choosing, make sure you register with one. They will be your first point of contact for non-urgent care, and specialised care is only available upon their referral. In this sense they act as gatekeepers. It's worth noting that Dutch healthcare is generally non-interventionist in nature, and medication is not handed out lightly.

Student Health Care (SGZ)
SGZ provides various services: GP care for illness and medical problems, the student doctor for preventative or study related healthcare, and the travel clinic. "Our practice is in a healthcare centre with dentists, psychologists and physiotherapists. Our services are also for PhD candidates and staff at TU Delft," explained Wim van Donselaar, doctor at SGZ.

There is a daily drop-in clinic on campus

They provide care on campus too. There is a daily drop-in clinic weekdays from 11:00 - 11:45 at Leeghwaterstraat 152. No appointment is necessary, it works on a first-come first-served basis, and is meant for brief consultations or recent illness. For anything else, you'll need an appointment with the GP: mornings on campus, or afternoons at the healthcare centre at Kampveld 10A. The student doctor can assist with things such as RSI prevention, counselling and medical certificates.

The travel clinic is specialised in providing vaccinations and advice to travellers. TU Delft has an agreement with SGZ: "Preventative services on referral of a student counsellor/advisor are free of charge, and mainly subsidised by TU Delft. The costs of the GP are covered by the insurance company, and in general bills will be sent directly to the insurer," said Van Donselaar.

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, telephone 112 for help, they will decide whether to call an ambulance.

Delft has one hospital, Reinier de Graaf, located at Reinier de Graafweg 5, where many specialists are located. Unless it's an emergency, treatment at the hospital is only possible upon GP referral. What is classed as an emergency? "Acute injuries resulting from an accident, acute heart problems or distress, complaints that are too serious to wait for a consultation with a GP," according to their website. The emergency department is called Spoedeisende Hulp in Dutch.

Out of hours GP service
This is the huisartsenpost, located in the main hospital building but with its own entrance to the left of the hospital's main entrance. Open weekdays from 17:00 until 08:00, and 24 hours a day during weekends and holidays. When should you consult them? "In case of emergency and acute health problems out of hours, when your regular practice is closed, and your health problem needs to be seen right away and cannot wait until the next day," states their website. You can call 015 251 19 30 for advice, to make an appointment with a GP, or for hospital referral.

The apotheek is where medicines are available either over the counter for self-care, or on prescription from a doctor. The staff can also advise on medications and minor ailments. The pharmacy inside the hospital is open out of hours for emergency prescriptions. Bear in mind that medications you can buy at home over the counter may need a prescription in the Netherlands.

Be sure to find and register with a tandarts before you need one. Many practices are full and not accepting new patients. It's common to have a check-up every 6 or 12 months. Check your health insurance to see what your dental coverage is, if any.