What to do if you are admitted to hospital abroad
Have you – or has a travelling companion – been admitted unexpectedly to hospital abroad? The Dutch embassy or consulate can assist you. It can, for instance, inform your relatives at home or arrange for an interpreter.
Assistance from the embassy or consulate if you are admitted to hospital
If you are admitted to hospital abroad, you can inform the Dutch embassy or consulate. A staff member will then contact the hospital to learn more about your condition. The embassy or consulate can help you by:
• informing your relatives in the Netherlands of your admission to hospital;
• arranging for an interpreter to translate conversations between you and doctors;
• informing your travel insurer’s emergency support centre.
If there is no Dutch embassy or consulate in the country, you can contact the embassy of another EU member state.
Patients with travel insurance
If you have travel insurance, the insurer’s emergency support centre will assist you. It will:
• ensure that your medical bills are paid;
• talk regularly with the doctor treating you about your medical condition;
• arrange for you to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible;
• keep your family in the Netherlands informed about your condition.
Patients without travel insurance
Do you not have travel insurance? Some hospitals will refuse to treat you if they don’t know whether you can pay. The Dutch embassy or consulate can assist you by:
• mediating between you and the hospital. The embassy or consulate will never pay your hospital bills, but it can remind the hospital that it cannot refuse assistance;
• a consular staff member can (via the Ministry in The Hague) ask your relatives in the Netherlands to transfer money to cover your hospital bills.
Relatives can find out about a patient’s situation via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +31 (0) 70 348 4770. A Ministry staff member will ask the embassy how the patient is progressing.
It can be difficult for a psychiatric patient admitted to hospital abroad to get back to the Netherlands. Many airlines require passengers with severe mental health problems to be accompanied on the flight by a doctor or nurse. That is not always possible.
Patients with severe mental health problems may not be repatriated against their will. They must agree in writing to return to the Netherlands. They sometimes also require a declaration by a doctor that repatriation will speed up the healing process.