How general practice is funded in The Netherlands

Chris Van Weel
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb06189.x
Published online: 19 July 2004

The strength of Dutch healthcare is that the general practitioner’s role is enshrined in the primary care structure and the personal listing of patients (Box).1,2 Primary care is delivered through a personal working relationship with the patient over time and the payment system reinforces this to some extent. Capitation fee payment encourages delivery of care that is tailored to individual needs, rewarding powerful primary care strategies such as “watchful waiting” and the follow-up of the natural course of signs and symptoms.3 It takes considerations of financial reward out of the consultation.

  • Department of General Practice, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


  • 1. Boerma WGW, Fleming DM. The role of general practice in primary health care. London: The Stationery Office, 1998.
  • 2. Badia JG. General practice/family medicine in the new Europe — changes and challenges. Allmanmedicin 1996; 17 (Suppl 18): 22-25.
  • 3. McWhinney IR. A textbook of family medicine. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • 4. Starfield B. Is primary care essential? Lancet 1994; 344: 129-133.
  • 5. Knottnerus JA. Role of the electronic record in the development of general practice in the Netherlands. Methods Inf Med 1999; 38: 350-354.


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