Permanent GP for Co-Med victims? It will take months

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  • Sander Zorhack

    Healthcare Editor

  • Sander Zorhack

    Healthcare Editor

Two weeks after the closure of the GP chain Co-Med, health insurer CZ reports that patients in some places will have access to a new permanent GP. A “permanent solution” could be reached in Breda today. But regional GP organisations warn that it will take at least three to six months.

Currently, patients under the health insurance companies’ emergency plan are being helped by the digital general practice Arene and physical practices in the region. In this way, basic care is also guaranteed for these people, according to the Czechoslovakian spokesperson, who speaks on behalf of all health insurance companies.

No chain care

But a tour by NOS shows that, at least in the regions of West Brabant and Zwolle, chronic patients with diabetes or lung disease are not receiving their regular check-ups. This care is important to track whether their medication is still being adjusted correctly.

Czechoslovakia denies that these tests are not being carried out, they are simply part of the emergency package. The spokesman says he finds it strange that NOS is receiving “wrong information from some GPs”.

“If these people have complaints, they will of course be helped. But this is usually prevented as much as possible by regular check-ups. And it is precisely these check-ups that are not included in the emergency package,” insists Nienke Rijkers, chairman of the General Practitioners Association in the Zwolle region.


However, the transfer of care for more complex and chronic patients has become more difficult. Co-Med rarely releases patient files. The Health and Youth Inspectorate has now imposed an administrative enforcement measure to make files available.

Patients who need care also have to deal with red tape. Richard Broemans of Bergen op Zoom said he spent “half a day” registering, dialing codes and downloading a healthcare app before he could seek help for his swollen wrist. Then it took four days before he got a call back.

“I find it shameful that this is possible in the Netherlands,” says Broemans. “We pay a lot of money for health insurance to have good GP care. This is now less accessible for many.” He believes that health insurance companies have “made it too easy for themselves” with this emergency plan.

The National Association of General Practitioners does not see this situation as sustainable in the long term. According to board chair Marjolein Tach, a structural solution in which everyone once again has their own, easily accessible GP should be “a matter of weeks”.

The health insurance company CZ says today that it has already found a “permanent solution” in Breda. General practitioners there will increase their capacity so that 4,400 local CoMed patients can register at a clinic by autumn at the latest. “This means that, if possible, this can be done within a few weeks,” says the spokesperson.

In the meantime, people will have a permanent GP in Breda through the intervention of Arene and the local digital GP service: Thuisdok.

“It will take months”

The reaction of the comprehensive GP care group Breda was surprising. It is true that hundreds of patients have already been registered, says managing director Joriaan Propper. “But the training rooms that Co-Med currently occupies are essential for thousands of people and two additional general practitioners“It will take months to arrange this, after Co-Med effectively goes bankrupt.”

The fact that patients can count on a permanent GP through Arene and Thuisdok until then is also not true, according to Proper. “The essence of Arene and Thuisdok is that care is provided by multiple local GPs in existing practices. This is not ideal, but it is the best we can do together in the coming months.”

In West Brabant, they dare not hope that new general practitioners will appear in a few months and want to start practices. “The number of general practitioners per ten thousand inhabitants here is the lowest in the country,” says Martin Kelsdonk, director of the West Brabant GB cooperative.

That’s why the organisation has been holding information evenings for a long time to excite GPs. They also have something to offer potential practice owners. “You’ll get a full support team including a practice manager. Not only will you get guidance in running the practice, but you’ll also have more time to do what you’re there for: being a doctor and providing care.”

Kelsdonk expects that finding new GPs will still be a major challenge. “There won’t be a replacement next week, next month. We hope within six months.”

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