Fifth of Netherlands residents delay healthcare due to high costs

One in five Netherlands residents who needed healthcare in 2022 did not get it because they simply could not afford to, AD reports based on a survey by the Dutch Patient Federation among 10,056 of its members. Healthcare costs particularly impact the lives of chronically ill people.

In the survey, 21 percent of respondents said they delayed healthcare last year, primarily oral care (45 percent) and physiotherapy (23 percent). That had negative consequences for more than half of them, such as more pain or other symptoms. For 62 percent, the delay caused extra stress, anxiety or made them less mobile.

Members of the Patient Federation are generally people who need care – 90 percent of survey participants have a medical condition like cardiovascular disease, rheumatism, a lung disorder, or a physical disability.

About 60 percent of respondents said they faced extra healthcare costs like transport, adjustments to their home, changing their diet, or additional heating and electricity costs because they were housebound due to illness. People in these households were more likely to avoid care than those with no “care cost accumulation.”

Dianda Veldman of the Dutch Patient Federation told AD that the figures shocked her. “The avoidance of oral care, in particular, worries me. You regularly hear from dentists that poor oral care affects the rest of your health. In addition, it leads to pain and shame. Dental care used to be covered by the health insurance fund. Now that care has become a luxury. If you talk about the dichotomy in society: this is where it starts. It is invisible. It creeps in.”

The Patient Federation called on the Cabinet to reduce the healthcare deductible and put dental care back in the basic health insurance package.

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