Dutch GPs agree to refer fewer patients to hospital and prescribe more generic drugs

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 29 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4510
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. 1Utrecht

The long running dispute between the Dutch ministry of health and Netherlands general practitioners is over in a deal seen as guaranteeing stability and growth for the profession, defining their position as the gatekeepers of care.

But in return for annual budget growth and extra funding for modernisation and innovation, GPs must realise savings worth millions of euros from generic prescribing and refer fewer patients to more expensive hospital care.

The minister of health, Edith Schippers, and the GPs Association chair, Steven van Eijck, signed the “covenant” barely eight months after almost two thirds of the Netherlands general practitioners had demonstrated …

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