Referral to a specialist

  • A referral to a specialist is made by the general practitioner in consultation with the patient.

  • A specialist consultation is deducted from the 'own risk' of the patient's health insurance.

  • The general practitioner does not refer afterwards.
    • It happens that patients make an appointment with a specialist for non-urgent matters of their own accord and ask for a referral from the general practicioner afterwards. The general practicioner is then not authorized to write a referral. If he does, it can be a criminal offense.

      The general practitioner has the statutory task of being a gatekeeper for hospital care. This means that the general practitioner, in consultation with the patient, refers to a specialist if there is an indication for this.

      The health care in the Netherlands is precious in two ways: valuable and expensive. To keep the Dutch health care available, general practitioners have the responsibility to provide their care when possible and to refer to expensive specialist care only when necessary. Only specialist care by referral from a general practitioner is reimbursed by the health care insurance.

      Specialists are not allowed to provide care or claim reimbursement from the health care insurance if there is no referral from the general practitioner. If they do, it is for their own account or for that of the patient. For objections against this regulation you can contact your health care insurance company.