Worldwide, Dutch healthcare is high on the rankings. The average life expectancy in the Netherlands is high, about 81 years. Research suggests that our country has the tallest people and happiest children in the world. Our healthcare system is known throughout the world. It is 150 years old, is high quality and is accessible for everyone. We work hard at making better care available for less money, and are successful in this: stable costs of care with better results each year. Our knowledge of health chains and market needs along with our experience in open public-private partnership is substantial. The Dutch are used to being among different cultures; we are empathetic to local needs and are familiar with hierarchical structures. All this makes the Dutch Life Sciences and Health sector the ideal partner to consult if you are searching for the solution to complex health issues in countries faced by the same challenges. To inspire them and improve healthcare together.
Simultaneously, the world’s population is increasing steadily and, with it, the demand for healthcare. In prosperous countries people are living longer and the proportion of older people is rising. So the number of people that has to earn for those that no longer work is also growing. Furthermore, more people are now suffering from chronic and age-related diseases like dementia, Parkinson, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The treatment of these diseases is improving all the time as is the quality of the patients’ lives. At the same time, it is all costing a lot more while unhealthy lifestyles are causing all kinds of health problems in these countries. This is why we focus on prevention. In countries where the economy is developing, there are quite different needs. Here the issue is the availability of care providers and access to medicines and simple medical equipment. The care is often poorly organized and the hygiene is often sub-standard, whereby the danger of epidemics is ever present. The Netherlands is also faced by increasing demand for care and the challenge to keep it affordable and to improve accessibility. The Dutch economy and healthcare are interrelated. Good care means that people with chronic disorders can still be part of the workforce – it helps get people that have been ill back to work faster.
The Netherlands is one of the world’s top ten economies, something that we can attribute to centuries of invention, discovery and international trade. Our freedom to experiment has brought the world significant progress in the field of health. We all know the microscope. But what about microbiology, the invention of the electrocardiogram, the artificial kidney, the heart-lung machine and the artificial heart? Or the cultured stem cells and the bio needle? All have their origins in the Netherlands. Our population and the patient population have been well documented. Information is stored in well-structured biobanks. We have a well-organized preventive system, including a state vaccination programme. Newborns are given a heel prick to check for serious diseases and when they grow up, children must make consultation visits. The number of hospitalizations and days in bed is low compared to other countries. This is all the result of Dutch organisational strength, thinking in processes and idealism. We see care not as a series of separate components but as a coherent whole in which the patient is central. Moreover, patient organisations are well organized and closely involved in the decisions made in the care sector. Professionals are in charge of healthcare and the operational influence of politicians is limited. Dutch care policy is thorough and solid, has a well-considered infrastructure and requires smart solutions.