Internationals base their expectations on what they are accustomed to in their country of origin. They are used to other health systems that allow, for instance, direct access to medical specialists or where antibiotics or diagnostic tests are more readily prescribed. In addition there may be differences in culture and in most cases a language barrier. Simply explaining that Dutch healthcare is amongst the best in the world does not automatically build confidence and often even is counterproductive.

Although expectations differ as much as there are different healthcare systems in the world, there are a few recurring complaints about Dutch healthcare:

“I have no confidence in the ‘go home, take a rest and paracetamol’ approach”

“If I go to the doctor, it is because I feel it is serious. I don’t want to be dismissed”

“If I call for an appointment, I have to convince the receptionist I need one. I am not a hypochondriac”

“The GP (‘huisarts’) tries to keep you away from the ‘real’ specialist as much as possible …”,

“Doctors have no understanding of what the patient is used to at home …”,

“There is little attention for prevention and looking at the complete picture of keeping a person healthy”