The medical care provided to asylum seekers is as similar as possible to regular Dutch healthcare. Asylum seekers, like Dutch residents, can visit a general practitioner, midwife or hospital. One of the COA staff’s important duties is familiarise asylum seekers with the organisation of Dutch healthcare.
General practitioner’s assistance
Asylum seekers needing help from a general practitioner can call at the Asylum seekers’ Healthcare Centre (GC A). This is a national general practitioners’ network. The network is the first point of contact for asylum seekers needing medical care. All occupants are registered with the GC A and assigned to one of the Centre’s general practitioners. The general practitioner refers asylum seekers to a specialist if necessary. Occupants can call at open surgeries held at or close to every asylum seekers’ centre to consult a doctor or doctors’ assistant. Asylum seekers with health questions can also contact a 24-hour medical call centre, the GC A practitioners’ line.
More information: website GC A
The Municipal Health Service is responsible for providing public healthcare to Dutch residents and asylum seekers. The care focuses on prevention, providing information and screening. This includes the mandatory TB screening of all asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands.
More information: website GGD
Reimbursement of healthcare
The Asylum Seekers (Healthcare) regulations (RZA) make arrangements for the reimbursement of asylum seekers’ healthcare. The RZA healthcare benefits are largely the same as those of the Healthcare Insurance Act and Exceptional Medical Expenses Act. Asylum seekers are also entitled to some of the benefits provided by the Social Support Act. Most of our occupants do not have much money, so they do not pay a personal contribution or an excess.
Asylum seekers staying at a number of specific forms of reception location* are only entitled to the necessary medical care: the healthcare providers decide what ‘necessary medical care’ means for the relevant asylum seeker. The healthcare provider may also take account of the expected length of the occupant’s stay in the Netherlands. COA has no influence on the healthcare providers’ decisions.
Supervision by the Healthcare Inspectorate
The Healthcare Inspectorate supervises the medical care given to asylum seekers. The Inspectorate can submit advice to the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports on request or at its discretion.
*central reception location, process reception location, freedom restricting location and family location (when occupants are aged at least 18).