Going to the hospital
Published: 09 April 2013 Modified: 07 May 2013
When do you go to the hospital? In some situations your GP will refer you to the hospital. Only in emergencies should you go immediately to the hospital yourself.
If your GP cannot diagnose or treat you, he can refer you to a medical specialist. You will receive a medical referral letter and you must make the appointment yourself. You may have to wait for the appointment, unless the matter is urgent.
Only in acute emergencies (broken bones, an open wound, a heart attack, stroke or if a child has ingested poison, for example) should you go directly to the hospital. In most cases, you must always go first to your GP. For treatment outside office hours, phone tel. (070) 346 96 69.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient
Medical specialists working in hospitals can have a waiting list of weeks, even months. Appointments are scheduled on the basis of objective criteria, such as medical need and order of application. If you visit an outpatient’s clinic (polikliniek) - within a hospital or independen - for treatment or examination, you’ll return home the same day. If the treatment or examination lasts longer than a day, then you will be admitted to hospital and the hospital will arrange with you the exact date and time of admittance.
If language is a problem, you can ask the specialist to arrange interpreting and translation services.
In serious medical emergencies (for instance a car accident) you can phone the national emergency number 112 or go to the nearest hospital. Ambulance staff are trained professionals capable of delivering first aid. The Accident and Emergency department (Spoedeisende hulp) is available 24 hours a day.
Choosing a hospital
Most of the time you can choose which hospital you would like to visit, depending on your insurance policy. Your GP can advise you on which specialist is best suited to your needs.
Don't forget your papers
You must always bring your insurance card, referral letter from your GP and valid proof of identity with you to the hospital.
Physicians are legally bound to confidentiality. Tell your doctor as much as possible about your condition and ask questions when you don’t understand.