All doctors in Huisartsenpraktijk Bos en Lommer are qualified huisarts. Huisarts is the Dutch equivalent of family doctors in the United States or general practitioners in the United Kingdom. Training to become a huisarts requires three years of specialization after completion of internships.
In The Netherlands the huisarts is a key figure in healthcare. Every resident is registered with a local huisarts. The huisarts is normally the point of first medical contact within the healthcare system, providing open access to all types of patients and health problems. In The Netherlands 90% of all health needs are managed within primary care. If a huisarts cannot deal with a problem, the patient will usually be refered to hospital for tests, treatment or to see a medical specialist.
The huisarts manages both acute and chronic health problems and deals with a wide range of health and social problems. Acute health problems are often "undifferentiated" or imprecise symptoms at early stages in the development of an illness. This means that important decisions for patients have to be taken on the basis of limited information, with early signs of disease often non-specific to a particular condition. Having excluded an immediately serious outcome, the decision may well be to await further developments and review later. Frequently the job of the family doctor is to reassure those with understandable anxieties about illness – having first determined that such illness is not present.
The huisarts also provides health education and advice on things like smoking and diet, runs clinics, gives vaccinations and carries out simple surgical operations. The huisarts also visits patients at home where clinically necessary.
The huisarts coordinates care by working with other professionals in the primary care setting like physiotherapists, dieticians, social workers and psychologists and by managing the interface with other specialties, taking an advocacy role for the patient when needed. This coordinating role is key to ensuring that patients see the most appropriate healthcare professional.