Four Dutch cities facing serious GP shortage; 11 others on the brink: report

A doctor with the Dutch flag
A doctor with the Dutch flagAlexis84DepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Enschede, Middelburg, Kampen, and Emmen are facing such a shortage of general practitioners that residents have to wait months before finding a permanent doctor. A further eleven cities are on the brink of facing the same situation, the Volkskrant reported based on its own research

In Rotterdam, Leeuwarden, Almelo, Goes, Vlissingen, Bergen op Zoom, Tilburg, Waalwijk, Oss, Den Bosch, and Eindhoven, GPs are barely managing to keep up with their duty to help people in acute need. Residents are finding it nearly impossible to find a regular practice for their house-doctor needs, the newspaper wrote.

The national association for general practitioners LHV previously warned that the Netherlands will face a serious GP shortage by 2023, and that that situation will be even more acute by 2028. Especially the regions of Zeeland, Drenthe, Drechtsteden, the Achterhoek, and the north of Noord-Holland will struggle, the LHV warned. At the same time, the government has put more and more pressure on GPs over the past years to reduce costs within hospitals, according to the newspaper.

At least 200 practices, especially on the outskirts of the country, are actively searching for new GPs. But the available supply largely consists of female doctors, who often work part-time and do not want to manage their own practice, the Volkskrant wrote. 

The entire healthcare sector in the Netherlands is facing staff shortages. This is resulting in medical interns being forced to work as fully-trained healthcare workers, without them having the training - causing unsafe situations for patients and students, union FNV warned earlier this week. 

The Netherlands' association for obstetricians KNOV also sounded the alarm, saying that staff shortages and the elimination of birthing rooms in hospitals are leading to dangerous situations for pregnant mothers and their babies.