1 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Professional checks on foreign doctors and nurses who enter the Netherlands intensified on Monday with new requirements demanding that they produce evidence of a good work record before they can start a Dutch job.
After sharp criticism from academics, who were concerned that there was an insufficient guarantee that foreign medics would provide adequate healthcare, the so-called BIG register has introduced tougher regulations.
The BIG register lists all qualified medical personnel in the Netherlands and the new measure is designed to protect Dutch patients from unprofessional treatment from medics who have lost their right to practice in their own country.
Previously, a statement from the individual doctor or nurse indicating whether disciplinary action had been taken in the country of origin was the only test. The chief of the BIG register, Irma Turenhout, said those who lied were guilty of forgery, but the register did not know all the facts.
“From now on we are going to check up if someone is qualified to practice their profession in their own country,” Turenhout said.
This means that in future, the register will want to see an official registration statement from the files of a foreign medical association. Turenhout said the right of the public to proper healthcare was more important than the privacy rights of medics and the free movement of labour, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday.
Almost 1,300 foreign doctors and nurses registered with the BIG register last year, most of whom were from other European nations. The additional check is due in part to the EU expansion on 1 May to include an extra 10 states.
The academics that assessed the BIG legislation 18 months ago sharply criticised the lack of checks and said the danger of inadequate care will only increase when the EU expands.
The assessment commission said suspended foreigners have worked in the Netherlands previously and suspended Dutch medics have worked in foreign countries also, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
The new regulation can be quickly implemented because current legislation makes it possible and if a foreign medic breaches the register’s regulations, an official report is made and their registration cancelled.
In the latter part of this year, the Netherlands will use its six-month EU presidency term to campaign for its proposal to implement a Europe-wide databank of qualified migrating medics.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news