Thursday, 28 November 2013

Healthcare System in The Netherlands

I thought I am going to talk about something different today. I am going to talk about the healthcare in the Netherlands. You may be shocked once you know how the system works and why it actually works that way.


As some of you may know, I have been really sick with bronchitis last week thus the lack of daily blog posts last week. I have to say that ever since living here I have come to understand that we do not require every medicine and antibiotics in the world to get better from a sickness. I am sick because my body and my immune system is fighting the disease. The fever is there because the immune system works better at high temperature and the constant coughing is just to make the mucus surfaced and out of the lungs. In Malaysia I was too used to the luxury of going to the clinic anytime I am sick and have the doctor prescribe a few medicine for me.


Initially, I was shocked to find out that it does not work the same way here. Here, everybody has their own family doctor. So, when you are sick what you should do is to call the doctor to make an appointment. Depending on the seriousness of your condition that you will be secured an appointment, otherwise you will have to wait till the next few days if the symptom still persists. The call has to be made between 8 a.m-11 a.m and again at 3.00 p.m unless it’s an emergency, you can call in anytime. You have to tell your symptoms to the medical assistant whilst on the phone and if you are lucky, you will get an appointment. If your symptoms is just a recurrence of an old sickness, the doctor will prescribe you some medicine which will only help to lessen the symptom. Only if the doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection that you will be prescribed with antibiotics after the appointment. If it is just a viral fever, they will not prescribed an antibiotic because an antibiotic cannot fight viral infection.


In retrospect, since living here for 3 and a half years, I have only received two antibiotics. Yes, TWO!! In Malaysia, I received them almost always everytime I got sick. So whenever my daughter and I fell sick, we would always self-medicate first by eating right and drinking enough fluids or taking supplements or simply take some painkiller if the pain is too much to bear. That is because if we’d go to the doctor straight away, the doctor would simply say, “It’s OK, your body is just fighting the disease and just have a rest at home.” Nothing is prescribed and we would go home empty handed. This has happened so many times before that we have learnt our lesson. It was a shock the first time because I never heard any doctor I have encountered with in Malaysia actually said this to my face.


If there is one thing to learn from this, it is to let your body work its magic. When it is no longer capable of fighting the disease that is when you get help. Of course, use your instinct. If you think it is something more serious than just a viral fever, tell your doctor and have it clarified and checked.


  1. This is very interesting kakak! I never know about the huge difference in healthcare style there compare to Malaysia and also in Singapore.
    I am a pharmaceutical Student & currently interning. I'm always busy ordering out of stocks medicines for clinics and hospitals use. If they were to use the same healthcare style here, I definitely will have lesser work. Lol!! :) Btw I like the random change of post!

  2. My aunt (from Holland) told us this! Even my mum is like that- if we feel ill she'll just tell us to have things like black seed and honey or garlic, lemon etc. and unless it's serious we don't go to the doctor's.

    Asmaa || JustPeachy

  3. Also- Hope you're feeling a lot better inshallah!

  4. my niece baru umur 8 months, got fever and pergi clinic then doctor bagi antibiotic! ishhh..

  5. Sinead O'Reilly10 April 2014 at 15:50

    Hi there. There is a good reason why antibiotics are only given out in extreme cases. Bacterial infections can build up resistance to antibiotics over time, then they no longer work! New antibiotics would have to be developed requiring a lot of time and money. Hence doctors only prescribe them when absolutely necessary.
    Your are right in that most of the time your body will heal itself and build up it's own antibodies to disease unless you have another long term illness or condition that affects your immune system.


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