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Emergency departments in The Netherlands
  1. Wendy A M H Thijssen1,2,
  2. Paul H J Giesen2,
  3. Michel Wensing2
  1. 1Catharina Hospital, Emergency Department, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  2. 2IQ Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wendy A M H Thijssen, Emergency Department, Catharina Hospital, Michelangelolaan 2, PO Box 1350, 5602 ZA Eindhoven, The Netherlands; wendy.thijssen{at}


Emergency medicine in The Netherlands is faced with an increasing interest by politicians and stakeholders in health care. This is due to crowding, increasing costs, criticism of the quality of emergency care, restructuring of out-of-hours services in primary care and the introduction of a training programme for emergency physicians in 2000. A comprehensive search was conducted of published research, policy reports and updated Dutch websites on acute care. Publications were included in this review if these referred to emergency care, including emergency departments (ED), general practitioner (GP) cooperatives and emergency medical services in The Netherlands and were written in English or Dutch. The literature search identified 14 eligible papers. The manual search identified 11 additional papers. Seven reports and two PhD theses were also included. Given the lack of relevant empirical research the review was liberal in its inclusion, but the analysis focused on research when available. ED in The Netherlands are in different stages of development. However, it is obvious that the presence of emergency physicians is increasing and more ED will be staffed by emergency physicians. Although this seems an important step, it does not necessarily imply a good position of the emergency physician in the ED. What the characteristics of the future patient of the Dutch ED will be is dependent on the development of different ED levels of care and GP cooperatives. The lack of empirical research also points out the need for research on quality of care in Dutch ED.

  • Acute medicine—other
  • data management
  • emergency care systems
  • emergency department
  • emergency physician
  • GP cooperative
  • quality assurance

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.