EHIC: visiting the Netherlands short-term
Your EHIC does not cover private treatment. However, healthcare providers in the Netherlands are all private entities and all Dutch residents have to take out a basic level of health insurance.
If you are visiting the Netherlands short-term then your EHIC will cover you for emergency treatment no matter the provider. But, if you need to see a GP or you are referred to hospital by a GP then you need to check that you are referred to a provider that has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis Health insurance company, which is the government contracted health insurer. Check with the referring GP or contact the Zilveren Kruis before you make an appointment, simply email email@example.com or call 0031 (0) 33 445 68 70 for advice.
Even with the EHIC you may have to pay for your treatment in advance or make patient contributions (co-payments). The Zilveren Kruis may only be able to reimburse you for part of the treatment. Also, since July 1 2014, you can no longer be reimbursed for patient co-payments made abroad once you go back to the UK.
To claim a reimbursement with the Zilvern Kruis send the original bill, a copy of your EHIC and your bank details to:
Groep Buitenlands Recht
7300 AR Apledoorn
Ensured under the Dutch Health Insurance Act - living in the Netherlands
If you move to the Netherlands long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to take out at least a basic level of health insurance (basisverzekering). This is a legal requirement and failure to do so will lead to a fine. For more detailed information about the Dutch healthcare system, visit the Government of the Netherlands website.
You can find more practical advice on the Health Insurance Information Centre website (Zorgverzekering Informatie Centrum). The Zorgverzekeringslijn website also offers specific guidance for people coming to work or study in the Netherlands (information on both sites is available in English).
Doctors and dentists
If it's not an emergency, you'll have to make an appointment before you can see a GP (huisarts) or dentist (tandarts). Most hotels have a GP or dentist they can refer you to. If you are staying with friends or family, you are advised to contact their family GP or dentist.
If you are using you EHIC check that the GP or dentist has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis before you make the appointment.
If you move the Netherlands and are insured under the Dutch healthcare system then you need to register with a GP or dentist first before you can make an appointment.
You can find local GPs through the Centrale Doktersdienst helpline. The helpline is open on evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Simply dial 035 6928222. Alternatively, do a postcode search online for GPs (huisarts) and dentists (tandarts) on the Care map website (information in Dutch only).
The GP is the gate keeper of the system. Like in the UK, you need a GP referral for hospital or specialist treatment. Reimbursement of specialist care will therefore not take place without this referral. GPs can also perform small surgical procedures, basic mental health care and consult a specialist to avoid unnecessary visits to hospital.
Medical specialist care
Hospitals are called "ziekenhuis" in the Netherlands. Emergency treatment at hospital is covered by your EHIC.
For planned medical specialist care, you'll need a referral from your GP, dentist, midwife or other specialist. Specialist care includes care provided by a specialist in his or her practice or care provided in a hospital’s outpatients department. Specialist care also includes medical care provided by a specialist during a hospital admission. The associated costs will be reimbursed if it’s necessary for you to be admitted to hospital during your stay in the Netherlands.
When you're admitted to a hospital, you'll need to present either a valid EHIC or your GP referral with proof of your health insurance to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident. Again, if you've been referred using your EHIC, ensure the hospital has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis.
The website mediLexicon has a directory that lets you search for hospitals and health clinics in the Netherlands. Alternatively, you can download a list with some medical facilities and practitioners in the Netherlands from GOV.UK.
Pharmacies are called "apotheek" in Dutch. Generally, people take their prescription to a pharmacy located near their GP, as residents are expected to also register at the pharmacy with their contact details and insurance information. If the pharmacy has a contract with your insurer, you won't have to pay for your prescription directly.
However, you have the right to take your prescription to any pharmacy you like, even if you are not registered with them.
If you are using your EHIC, then you will only be reimbursed for medication (such as tablets and ointments) you will need during your stay in the Netherlands and which have been prescribed by a Dutch doctor. You may sometimes need to pay your own contribution too. This may apply, for example, when a product is available which costs less, but which will provide the same results. Ask your pharmacist to confirm whether you will be reimbursed for the item.
Pharmacists are able to give advice for minor complaints. Opening hours vary, but the address of the nearest out-of-hours pharmacy will be indicated on the door. You can also call 020 694 8709 to find on-duty pharmacies.
If you need to bring your medicine with you from the UK to the Netherlands then special rules may apply. You can find some guidance on the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands website. General information about bringing medicines with you on a plane at UK airports is provided on GOV.UK.