Postgraduate Medical Education (PME) Project
The information listed for the Netherlands was provided by individuals knowledgeable about PME in the Netherlands. If you note errors or omissions or would like to provide additional information, please click here.
- Duration of studies
- Trainee selection process
- Specialty curriculum authority
- Licensing authority
- Areas of specialization
- Legal references
Duration of studies
In the Netherlands, a physician who has passed the final examinations in medicine can pursue training in an area of medical specialization. There are four types of specialist training:
- General Practitioner: 3 years
- Specialist: 4-6 years
- Public Health Specialist: 2.5-4 years
- Community health
- Occupational health
- Nursing Home Specialist: 2 years
Trainee selection process
The prerequisite for entering a training program for general practitioner, medical specialist, public health specialist, or nursing home specialist is an M.D. degree. Generally speaking, there is open access to postgraduate studies, though in some cases, at particular educational institutions, there is a selection procedure.
- General Practitioner: The selection of candidates for training in general practice is based on the assessment of written applications with regard to motivation, dedication, vocation, and the curriculum vitae’s relevance to the training. An interview then takes place between the selected candidates and an admission committee at the training institute to test the ability and motivation of the applicants.
- Specialist: A doctor who plans to train in a specialization program must apply to a specialist training department for a training position. For some specializations, such as general surgery, the application is central. If accepted by the training establishment or by the selection committee, the physician is required to notify the Committee for the Registration of Specialists (SRC) and submit a training schedule for approval. This schedule must be in accordance with the regulations for the specialty in question.
- Public Health Specialist: Most physicians who apply to train in public health are already employed in one of the branches of public health medicine. If not, the trainee must find a job that meets the approval of the SRC, so the trainee can receive appropriate support during practice training. The employer pays for most of the cost of training.
- Nursing Home Specialist: There is a two step procedure. The candidates first apply to a nursing home that has advertised a vacancy. The nursing home selects the candidates according to past employment and training. Following that selection, the training establishment’s selection committee decides on the ability of the selected candidates to follow the training course and to work as nursing home physicians.
Specialty curriculum authority
In the Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Medical Association is the professional authority that recognizes all areas of specialization. The system of (re)certification is based on the “Trias Politica” with separated responsibilities (legislation, execution, and appeal).
All the institutions (Boards, Registration Committees, and Committees of Appeal) are independent. Although they are part of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, they can act on their own behalf because of their public legal duty granted by the Secretary of Health. However, all regulations set by the Boards regarding training and (re)registration have to be submitted for approval to the Secretary of Health.
The responsibility for the contents of postgraduate training programs lies with one of three Boards:
- Central Board for Medical Specialists
- The Board of General Practitioners (CHVG; includes nursing home physicians)
- The Board of Social Medicine
Every specialty has its own Board consisting of representatives from medical faculties, the medical profession, scientific associations and, depending on the type of training, hospitals, nursing homes, and public health employers of specialists. There are also advisors from the Department of Health, the Department of Social Security, the Public Health Supervisory Service and doctors who supervise training. The task of each Board is to set the rules and regulations for vocational training. Candidates meeting all the requirements of the training program will be registered by the Registration Committee. The registration is valid for five years.
A Registration Committee is responsible for supervising the rules and regulations for the registration of specialists and the certification of trainers and training centers. Each type of specialist training has its own Registration Committee:
- Specialist Registration Committee
- General Practitioner Registration Committee (HVRC)
- Registration Committee for Medical Officers
A Board drafts the conditions of postgraduate education with regard to the terms of registration. The Registration Committee reviews the organizations and institutions providing postgraduate courses and training. To check conditions and to improve quality, a Registration Committee uses visiting trainers, the practices of general practitioners, nursing homes, and hospitals. A Registration Committee is composed of representatives from specific medical professions and hospitals or medical faculties.
Committees of Appeal
For each type of specialist training there is a Committee of Appeal. This committee is composed of three bachelors of law and two medical specialists. If a problem occurs with registration or re-registration, physicians can appeal the decision to the Committee of Appeal.
To re-register after the initial five-year registration period has expired, a specialist must take postgraduate courses, additional training, or theoretical lessons. Most specialists have to attend courses or training for 40 hours per year on average. A specialist must also have worked for a minimum number of hours during the previous five years.
Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport
Centraal Informatiepunt Beroepen Gezondheidszorg
Postadres: Postbus 16114
NL - 2500 BC DEN HAAG
Bezoekadres: Turfmarkt, 244
tel: +31 70 340 7401
fax: +31 70 340 5105
Medisch Specialisten Registratie Commissie
Lomanlaan 103, 3526 XD UTRECHT
NL - 3502 LB UTRECHT
Areas of specialization
- General Practitioner
- Anesthesiologie: 5 years
- Basiscursus heelkundige specl: 2 years
- Cardiologie: 6 years
- Cardiopulmonale chirurgie: 6 years
- Dermatologie en venerologie: 5 years
- Gastro-enterologie: 6 years
- Heelkunde: 6 years
- Inwendige geneescunde: 6 years
- Keel-neus-oorheelkunde: 5 years
- Kindergeeneskunde: 5 years
- Klinische chemie: 4 years
- Klinische chemie genetica: 4 years
- Klinische chemie geriatrie: 5 years
- Longziekten en tuberculose: 6 years
- Medische microbiologie: 4 years
- Neurochirurgie: 6 years
- Neurologie: 6 years
- Nucleaire geneeskunde: 4 years
- Oogheelkunde: 4 years
- Orthopedie: 6 years
- Pathologie: 5 years
- Plastische chirurgie: 6 years
- Psychiatrie: 4.5 years
- Radiologie: 5 years
- Radiotherapie: 5 years
- Reumatologie: 6 years
- Revalidatiegeneeskunde: 4 years
- Urologie: 6 years
- Verloskunde en gynaecologie: 6 years
- Public Health Specialist:
- Community Health
- Occupational Health
- Nursing Home Specialist
The organizational structure is based on the Trias Politica: the legislative body, executive body, and judicial body. There are three branches:
- one for general practitioners and nursing home specialists
- one for medical specialists
- one for public health physicians
Each branch has a board for the regulation of training, a committee for the implementation of regulations and for registration, and a committee of appeal. The regulations for training are set forth in resolutions that have to be approved by the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) and the Minister for Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS). The new individual Health Care Professions Act (Wet Big) ties in closely with this practice. The act came into effect on December 1, 1997.