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Asylum seekers and the out-of-hours GP service

Location Voorhout regularly deals with patients of the Asylum Seekers Center in Katwijk. A refugee who needs medical assistance during ANW hours and therefore also needs transport is going through a complex process. It is a journey along all kinds of abbreviations, cooperation processes and national agreements before one sits down at the table with the GP of the post.

An essential part of the process is ‘The Practice Line’. This is the medical call center that guarantees 24-hour care for all asylum seekers in the Netherlands. De Praktijklijn employs 55 people (triage nurses – doctor’s assistants – general practitioners – directing doctors – medical students and coordinators). Every year, De Praktijklijn makes 250,000 telephone calls or 725 per day and processes  25,000 chats or 75 per day.

Triage of the asylum seeker with a need for care is done on the basis of the NHG guide, the medical file and with the help of an interpreter. The urgency is determined in consultation with a directing physician. By the time the doctors or assistants of De Praktijklijn contact the HAP to transfer a patient, they have already completed the triage. The triage nurses of the HAP can take over this one-on-one.

The transport of the asylum seeker from the asylum seekers’ centre to the GP post takes place by taxi. The GZA is responsible for arranging the outward and return journey.

The fact that this does not always go well is evident from several VIM reports from De LIMES location Voorhout. It is the triage nurse who is confronted with an asylum seeker who sometimes has to wait hours before a return trip is organized. When a baby, toddler or COVID19 suspected patient (consultation room 3) is involved, the situation becomes untenable.

Taxi companies will be reimbursed for the transport of asylum seekers afterwards and the standard rate will be reimbursed for an emergency journey. All this under the condition that the ride complies with the rules of the RMA (Regulations on Medical Care for Asylum Seekers). Add to this the fact that 200 to 400 new asylum seekers arrive per day and that the IND can only register 12 per day to understand that there are also many undocumented people walking around who need help but are not entitled to anything.

In order to prevent unworkable and inhumane situations at the post, it was agreed in the last work meeting of triage nurses to ask the taxi driver to wait when the patient is delivered.

Would you like to take a look at De Praktijklijn? Please contact Ilja Smits – team leader of the Praktijklijn ismits@gzasielzoekers.nl

This e-mail address can also be used for complaints, comments or consultations.

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