How are the training and quality of GPs arranged in the Netherlands?

As a patient, you want a GP who is good at his or her job. How are GPs trained in the Netherlands? What about refresher training for GPs? And what do those doctors need to do in order to continue to be good GPs?

General practitioner (GP) training

A GP has received 3 years of specialty GP training after 6 years of basic medical training.

 What does GP training involve? Important elements are:

  • Carrying out consultations in the practice of a GP trainer
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Performing procedures (minor surgical procedures, stitching wounds, putting in a contraceptive coil (intrauterine device, IUD)
  • Making home visits, often to seriously ill bedridden patients
  • Treating chronic diseases in a treatment team
  • Conducting conversations and providing information to patients
  • Prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, breast cancer and cervical cancer
  • Providing psychiatric care

A GP in training spends 4 days a week working in what is called the training practice. He or she spends 1 day a week attending lectures and tutorials at the university. The GP in training does this during the 1st and 3rd year of the training programme.

In the 2nd year of training, the future GP spends:

  • 6 months working in the emergency department of a hospital
  • 3 months in an institution for long-term care, such as a nursing home
  • 3 months in psychiatry.


Every 5 years, a GP has to prove that he or she is still capable.

To do so, he or she must:

  • have spent enough hours working as a GP during the day, evening and night
  • have taken enough hours of refresher training in subjects of his or her choice
  • have been evaluated by patients and colleagues associated with his of her practice: this is called a visitatie (‘assessment’).
  • in addition, many GPs have their practice building, how they operate their practice, hygiene, working procedure and plans for improvement evaluated by a special ‘certification agency’ for GPs (information in Dutch).

 If the GP satisfies these conditions, he or she is reregistered for 5 years.

 Monitoring of the quality and the rules of the training programme and reregistration

The GP training programme and the rules for reregistration are monitored by the Registration Committee for Medical Specialists (Registratiecommissie Geneeskundig Specialismen, RGS). This ensures that you deal with GPs who have organised their affairs properly and are well informed.