Family doctors start week of protests, no disruption of services

Child receiving vaccine. Photo: depositphotos
Child receiving vaccine

Family doctors in the Netherlands have started a week of ‘public friendly’ protests to highlight the pressure on surgeries and urge the government to include measures to reduce their workload in its long-term health care plans.

Family doctors have been gradually taking on more tasks that used to be done by specialists at hospitals. Referrals also take longer, which means patients spend more time in the care of their family doctor.

Doctors say insurers are taking accountability too far and more trust in their medical decisions would reduce the time they spend filling in forms and other paperwork. They are also are calling on local councils to provide more affordable practice accommodation.

There will be no disruption for patients, family doctor and protest organiser Aart Verdaasdonk told broadcaster NOS. Verdaasdonk, whose practice has been decked out with buckets filled to the brim with water to show his list of tasks is close to overflowing, said he wants more time to spend on his patients who are now often left with questions following a consultation.

Doctors also want general practices, ambulance services and emergency departments to work more closely together.

The week concludes with a protest meeting at the Malieveld in The Hague on Friday.

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