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State Secretary Knops opens H4i Limburg

On 22 July 2021 GP Practice Healthcare for Internationals Limburg was officially opened by outgoing state secretary Raymond Knops.

This practice is focused entirely on the 36,000 labour migrants working in the region of Northern Limburg. The GP Practice is situated in a central location in Venlo near the VieCuri hospital.

H4i Limburg is a collaboration between GP group Cohesie and GP Frank van Kemenade. The initiative is broadly supported by GPs, councils and employers in Northern Limburg and is enabled partly by healthcare insurer Cooperation VGZ.

H4i Limburg is a member of national network Healthcare for internationals, which is involved in a number of regional initiatives aimed at making healthcare more accessible to labour migrants.

Dutch GP not easily accessible

Over 650,000 labour migrants are living and working in the Netherlands. They often come from middle and Eastern Europe and do economically vital work in logistics, industry or agriculture and horticulture. This number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Many labour migrants are not registered with a GP in the Netherlands. Common practice is for a labour migrant with medical problems to ask their employer, often an agency, for help. They then try to find a doctor able to spare the time and drive the patient to a GP, sometimes as far as 100 km away. They also often call into the GP Out of Hours Practice or the Hospital Emergency Room.

Last year the Roemer committee, put together by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, concluded that labour migrants do not get the access to care they should expect, being insured in the Netherlands.

Multilingual staff

“With GP Practice H4i Limburg we as a region offer an initial contribution towards solving the problematic situation concerning GP care for labour migrants”, says GP Frank van Kemenade.

“At H4i Limburg the care is fully attuned to labour migrants. We have staff who speak Polish, Romanian or Russian, for example, and the communication is tailored to the needs of the target group”.

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