In the Netherlands, you generally only go for a hospital visit when you have a referral from your GP to see a specialist.
If this is your first time at the hospital, you will need to register at the front desk:
- Make sure you can present your ID.
- Provide your personal details such as name, address, health insurer and the name of your general practitioner (huisarts).
- Hand in any referrals from your general practitioner.
Once your information is processed, you will receive a small plastic card that serves as a medical passport; a ‘ponsplaatje’. This will store your history at the hospital and send bills to your insurance company.
Follow the signs ‘Poliklinieken’ and the department that you are referred to in order to get to your appointment.
The purpose of your first appointment will be to determine whether you need further diagnosis and/or treatment. If this is the case, there are three options to proceed:
- You will be taken to a room for immediate tests.
- You will receive a new appointment for further treatment.
- You will be referred to a different specialist.
You will only need to stay overnight at the hospital in case of surgery or when you need to be monitored closely. Most hospitals in the Netherlands will have shared rooms with at least 2 to 6 patients, mixed gender, and with a curtain around the bed for some privacy. Each bed will often have a phone and a television, though you may have to pay for their use. You will need to bring your own nightwear, toiletries and other personal items.