Tuesday, 2 May 2017


New hospital,Kortrijk
If you're ill or having to go to hospital ranges from mild worry to a life-threatening experience; the good news is that Belgium, is a country with one of the world’s best healthcare system .

In Belgium there are public and private hospitals (hôpitaux/ziekenhuisen), university hospitals and polyclinics.You can also walk into ‘emergency outpatients’ for immediate treatment; though as in other countries, do not use this as a GP replacement.

In case of emergency,call the pan-European emergency number 112 (or 114 hearing assisted), free of charge from any phone, for any life-threatening situation. When you call they will need to know the type of emergency, address (municipality, street, house number, locality, etc.) and the number of people in danger.
An ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital but you will typically have to pay for this service, unless you have special or private health insurance that covers this.
Other emergency numbers:
Medical service  – 100.
Emergency doctor – 1307.
On-call pharmacy – 09 001 05 00 / 07 066 01 60.

Pharmacy is called a pharmacie or apotheek and you’ll recognise them by the green neon cross outside. They are usually open from Monday to Friday, often on Saturday mornings and on a rotating emergency service on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and out-of-hours.

Doctors are known as médecins or artsen. They are well trained and required by law to keep up-to-date with the latest medical developments.

Patients are free to register with a doctor of their choice, but registration is not compulsory. People often make “familiarisation” appointments with doctors before they enrol at their practice, so that they can determine if they like the doctor’s manner.
Patients must pay GP’s and consultant doctors directly in cash or by cheque each time they visit them.

Most Belgian Belgian doctors do not employ administrative to take phone calls or make appointments, which means that they often take calls during a consultation.

Belgian doctors do not tend to discuss types of treatment or answer patients concerns. Some doctors will only see patients who have made an advance appointment known as a rendezvous or astral, others hold ‘walk-in’ consultations using a supermarket-style queuing system and some do a combination of the two. All doctors make house calls and some will only see sick patients at home in an attempt to keep their surgeries “germ-free.”

Embassies usually keep lists of doctors who can work in your language, otherwise many doctors have a good understanding of English.


Belgium has a wide choice of hospitals and clinics with a total of 141 public and private general hospitals which are managed by universities, religious organisations, health insurance funds or social welfare organisations. The hospitals, which are open 24/7, can be identified by a sign showing a white H on a blue background. Large hospitals have an emergency centre, a maternity ward and separate sections dedicated to the treatment of children and the elderly. Smaller, specialised hospitals only offer care for specific
target groups like patients with neurological disorders. Elderly people can also find the care adapted to their needs in geriatric hospitals.

You can also be referred to a day hospital, where you receive specific surgery and are allowed to return home the same day, under certain conditions. At polyclinics, specialists offer consultations or small treatments, without the need for an overnight stay. Both day hospitals and polyclinics are usually departments of ageneral hospital.


In an emergency, call 100 or 112 and an ambulance will take you to the nearest emergency
centre. The Belgian compulsory health insurance scheme reimburses 50% of the cost of
emergency health service transport.


You may arrange to see a specialist of your choice; it’s not essential to have a referral from
a general practitioner, although he or she can advise you.


Chemists are ubiquitous in Belgium – look for the green cross sign. Most pharmacies operate normal working hours, with a number providing emergency 24/7 cover on a rota basis. Again, you can find this information in local and free papers. Medical prescriptions must be paid for on collection and the chemist issues a receipt for reimbursement purposes.


The majority of dentists in Belgium are private. They have an agreed fee scale agreement, which sets the level of reimbursement for patients for basic treatment. For any specialist work, such as crowns and bridges, the dentist may ask how you will pay and offer you different quotes. To qualify for reimbursement you’ll need to visit the dentist at least once a year.


You don’t need a referral from your GP before approaching a psychiatrist, psychotherapist
or counsellor, but it is advisable to ask for their advice first. There are 68 psychiatric hospitals and an attentive ear and professional advice are also readily at hand through the non-profit CHS.

CHS provides a confidential 24/7 information and crisis telephone service, staffed by a team of trained volunteers under the supervision of professional therapists. The mental health centre, in Brussels, has a professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists and educational specialists.


In September 2002, Belgium became the second country in the world to pass euthanasia
legislation. Patients must be over 18 years of age and if a person is not in the terminal stages of their illness, a third medical opinion needs to be sought.


Abortion is legal until the 12th week of pregnancy and women are required to have counselling prior to the abortion.


People struggling with addiction can seek help from their local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or drugs helpline Infor-Drogues.

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