‘General practitioners pivot in our healthcare system’

The pandemic with the more contagious‘ British ‘Covid-19 seems to cause the health system to collapse in England with a possible code black scenario.

And what does the Netherlands stand for it? Comparing the two health systems, there is a striking difference: the free accessibility of the English first aid. Patients visit the A&E easily accessible without consulting the GP, and in case of any inconvenience, the ambulance service is called. This will overload the E.R.s and overflow hospitals. In the Netherlands, the general practitioner handles 95% of the complaints himself in his gatekeeper function, is available without long waiting times and is organized in a network of centrally located GP posts where patients can easily access. As a result, even in this Covid-19 pandemic, only a fraction of patients are referred. Partly because the desirability of treatment/hospitalization is discussed in the very vulnerable. This proved to be crucial in March/April to dampen the pressure on hospitals, and is certainly not a usance in England.

Frank van Kemenade,

senior general practitioner