ACCESS NL > Healthcare in the Netherlands > Dutch healthcare system > Medical specialists > 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?

Medical specialists

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

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?

If you want to visit a medical specialist without a referral, your health insurance may not cover this and you may have to pay for the costs yourself. You should check with your health insurance company what the coverage is.

Please keep in mind that the GP acts as a gatekeeper to wider Dutch healthcare and received 3 years of specialist training after 6 years of basic medical education. The huisarts treats less complicated problems and can determine which specialist(s) to consult if necessary. The GP can also answer most of your general health questions. He/she will also perform, for example, standard gynaecological or paediatric examinations and minor surgeries.

There is also a chance that you will not be able to make an appointment, even if you are willing to pay for the costs yourself. This is because some practices refuse doing it due to the complex administration involved.

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