Care spending 3.7 percent up

  • Substantial growth spending on care for elderly and disabled
  • Spending on hospital care and dental care also up
  • Spending on GP care, medicines and childcare down

Last year, spending on health care and welfare in the Netherlands amounted to 92.7 billion euros, i.e. an increase by 3.7 percent from 2011. In particular spending on long-term care funded under Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ) rose considerably in 2012. Care spending increased by an average of 3.2 percent annually in the years 2010 and 2011, as the most recent provisional figures released by Statistics Netherlands show.

The amount spent on care for elderly and disabled persons soared by more than 10 percent. Extra funds were made available in 2012 to cover the cost of long-term care. Proportionally, the number of people qualifying for a more intensive form of medical care increased. The cost of mental health care remained more or less stable in 2012 after many years of increase. Spending on the medical part of mental health care, paid through the basic health insurance, was reduced.

Spending on hospitals and medical specialists’ practices increased by 5.6 percent in 2012, accounting for more than one quarter of total spending on care. The increase is partly caused by a category of expensive medicines which have been transferred to the hospital budget with effect from 1 January 2012. As a result, spending on medicines supplied through regular pharmacies and chemists was nearly 7 percent down in 2012.

After a substantial growth in 2011, spending on GP care was reduced by more than 2 percent in 2012. This is mainly due to reduced registration fees and fees for special medical treatments. Spending on the so-called ‘chain of care’ is not included.

Dental care spending rose by nearly 5 percent last year, mainly caused by fee increases.

Spending on childcare was reduced in 2012. The use of childcare facilities diminished; the number of children in childcare as well as the number of hours of care per child decreased. The average fee per hour rose marginally.

The share of spending on health care in the gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 14.8 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012. Per capita spending on health care amounted to 5,535 euros in 2012, versus 5,355 euros in 2011.