Numerous organizations in the care sector signed the Comprehensive Care Agreement with Health Minister Ernst Kuipers on Friday night. According to the cabinet, this agreement is important to keep health care accessible, future-proof and affordable. The branch club of general practitioners, the National Association of General Practitioners (LHV), did not sign.
Minister Kuipers speaks of a historic “and truly unique” agreement.
The minister highlights that the LHV GP association has participated in the negotiations throughout the process. The party also agrees to the agreements. According to him, there are only concerns about implementation in practice. How the deals work will be monitored, says Kuipers.
The LHV previously announced that it was concerned about the development of the plans because the government also failed to honor agreements made in the past. That is why the doctors asked for more concrete commitments. Also, it was wrong that Kuipers didn’t show up to speak at the big doctors’ rally in June.
Health agreement defines the future of healthcare
In the Comprehensive Care Agreement, the care sector and the ministry have made agreements on the future of care. The parties involved took into account, among other things, the aging population in the Netherlands. For example, promises are made to invest in community care.
According to the agreements, the toilets must cooperate more. In addition, primary care must be strengthened. This is care for which people can make an appointment for themselves without a referral (for example, with general practitioners and dentists, physical therapists, and district nurses). It should also become more attractive to work and stay in the care sector.
The interest club InEen, which also supports GP internships, has signed the agreement. The organization for nursing and community care ActiZ eventually also agreed, as did mental health care, the Hospital Association, the Netherlands Federation of Patients, the Association of Dutch Municipalities and health insurers.
Broad agreement is of great importance, according to Kuipers
Kuipers is pleased that the health care parties now have a “work agenda for the next several years” and continue to consult. The fact that the agreement is so comprehensive is of great importance, says the minister. Health problems often affect different branches of the sector. “If a hospital has a waiting list for someone who needs surgery, that person will go to their GP in the meantime,” Kuipers explains.
The deal has sometimes been called an “austerity deal” from opposition benches in the House of Representatives. “Very simply: that is not the case at all,” says the minister. “Health care spending has been rising for a long time and will continue to rise during this term.” It’s important to curb the growth of that spending, he says.
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