ACCESS NL > Healthcare in the Netherlands > Dutch healthcare system > Medical specialists > I want to see a medical specialist. How can I arrange that?

Medical specialists

I want to see a medical specialist. How can I arrange that?

The first thing you need to do is ask for a referral from your huisarts (GP). A referral is necessary to be able to visit a medical specialist. Once you have a referral, you can make an appointment. Depending on the specialisation and the facilities of the hospital, there may be waiting time from a few weeks to a few months. Health insurance companies may offer mediation to access treatment as soon as possible.

An alternative to seeing a medical specialist in a hospital is visiting one in  an independent clinic.  Here ambulatory and acute care are provided, but without major surgical or pre- and post-operative care facilities.

On your first visit to the medical specialist, you may be required to complete a questionnaire about your medical history and various lifestyle factors. If this is the case, the information will be registered in the hospital’s patient database.

I want to go to a medical specialist but my GP does not want to give me a referral. Can I visit a medical specialist without a referral?

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