Most people have their GP close by

26/05/2009 15:00

Most people live in the vicinity of their GP, but the road distance to the nearest out-of-hours GP centre is longer, in particular for people living in rural areas. The GP rate in rural areas is much lower than in major cities.

Three quarters of people live within 1 kilometre of GP practice

For most people it is fairly easy to consult a GP practice in the vicinity during the day. On 1 January 2007, three quarters of the population had a GP practice within a radius of 1 kilometre. Nearly everybody has a GP within a radius of 5 kilometres from their homes.

Distance to nearest GP practice or out-of-hours GP centre, 2007

Distance to nearest GP practice or out-of-hours GP centre, 2007

Out-of-hours GP centre on average 6 kilometres away

People who are in urgent need of medical attention in the evening, at night or in weekends must contact an out-of-hours GP centre. Early 2007, there were 132 of these centres in the Netherlands. Their average distance to residential areas was nearly 6 kilometres, but for more than 100 thousand people living in rural parts of the provinces of Friesland, Overijssel and Zeeland, the nearest centre was more than 20 kilometres away.

For 142 thousand inhabitants (0.9 percent of the Dutch population), the nearest GP is still more than 5 kilometres away.

Average road distance to nearest out-of-hours GP centre, 2007

Average road distance to nearest out-of-hours GP centre, 2007

High GP density in major cities

Residents of the major Dutch cities have the widest choice of GPs. In Amsterdam and The Hague, there are on average more than 37 GP practices within a distance of 3 kilometres. The corresponding figure for Rotterdam is 23 and for Utrecht more than 16. The Veluwe region also has many GP practices within a distance of 3 kilometres from a residential address.

Average number of GP practices within a road distance of 3 kilometres, 2007

Average number of GP practices within a road distance of 3 kilometres, 2007

Low GP rate in rural areas

In the Green Heart and also in many municipalities in the province of Zeeland, on the other hand, there are fewer than 2 GP practices within a distance of 3 kilometres from a residential area. This also applies to many rural communities in, for example, the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, North Brabant and the northern part of North Holland.

Niek van Leeuwen, Marijn Zuurmond and Chantal Melser