Dutch Decentralisation

The Dutch Governnment’s Healthcare Advisory Council has advised it to hand control over nursing home funding to local councils and health insurers.

The cost of providing care to the elderly and people with disabilities is starting to be felt in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Government’s Healthcare Advisory Council (RVZ) has proposed that local councils and health insurance companies take over the responsibility for organising and funding nursing homes.

The state-run funding system (the AWBZ) for long term care in the Netherlands already accounts for close to 40 per cent of the country’s health spending and is set to rise by 20 per cent in the next four years.

The RVZ’s report said putting responsibility into the hands of the private sector would help keep costs down.

“Large groups of patients, particular the elderly and mentally-handicapped, could be better off in the new situation,” the report said.

“The advantages will only become apparent once insurers and local authorities can lead the drive towards better organised service provision.”

But the report found that people with Downs Syndrome or schizophrenia, who are cared for under the same funding mechanism as the nation’s elderly, may be worse off under a system run by insurers.

The government will not comment on proposal until a second report into the AWBZ is completed.

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Image: A Dutch nursing home

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