Today the Dutch government will announce its new approach to prevention. It aims to curb smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity in an effort to reduce the incidence of chronic and deadly diseases. The plans that were drafted together with a large number of stakeholders in Dutch society, include programs to create awareness and education. They also further limit the number of places where it is allowed to smoke. A package of cigarettes will cost 10 € in 2023.
These measures add to a broad range of national preventive healthcare programs, that include preventive vaccinations and screenings aimed at the early detection of anomalies and diseases for different age groups.
General health checks of people who are not in specific risk groups, are not recommended in The Netherlands. This is because scientific evidence suggests that they are unlikely to be beneficial and even may cause harm. Even so, this often dismays internationals, who were used to getting a yearly ‘physical check-up’ at their doctors’.
Policies are changing
Gradually preventive healthcare policies are shifting though, and some forms of health checks are becoming available in The Netherlands. They are offered mostly by private parties and not covered by basic health insurance. Companies, by law, are now obligated to offer their employees some form of periodic health check.
In Eindhoven healthcare provider SGE international has started a pilot to provide health checks to internationals with the aim of finding out how these can positively contribute to the health and fitness of its patients.
In any event, you don’t need your GP’s consent for a health check. If you got a health check somewhere, you can and should discuss any results that worry you with your GP (‘huisarts’).