Spending on care up 1.8 percent in 2014

According to figures published this week by Statistics Netherlands, spending on health care and welfare in the Netherlands  was 1.8 percent higher in 2014 than in the previous year. Spending was higher on general practices and welfare and social services in particular. The total amount spent on drugs remained stable. The proportion of spending on health care in the gross domestic product (GDP) was similar to that in Belgium, France and Germany.

Per capita health spending rises to 5,630 euros

Overall spending on health and welfare in the Netherlands rose by 1.8 percent in 2014, to 95 billion euros. At 5,630 euros per inhabitant, this is 79 euros more than in 2013, continuing  the slowdown in the increase in care spending since 2008.

Care spending

Spending on general practices increases relatively strongly

Six percent more was spent on general practices in 2014. One reason for this is that funds have been made available to promote certain forms of treatment being done by GPs instead of hospitals and specialists. One example is professional assistance for mental health care in general practice. GP tariffs have also been raised.

Slight rise in spending on hospital care, spending on drugs remains stable

Spending on hospitals and practices of consultants, which accounts for over one quarter of total care spending, rose by 2.1 percent in 2014, to 26.0 billion euros. In 2012 and 2013 the increase was around 5 percent per year. In contrast to previous years, hardly any high-cost drugs were transferred to hospital budgets. This is also one of reasons that spending on drugs via pharmacies remained stable at 5.2 billion euros in 2014, after two years of substantial decreases. Another reason was that the average price of drugs fell by less than in previous years.

More spent on welfare and social services

Nearly 4 percent more was spent on welfare and social services (child care centres, youth care and other welfare) in 2014; spending on this category rose to 9.8 billion euros. Most of this increase can be accounted for by the increase in spending on centres for asylum seekers as a result of the large rise in the number of asylum seekers in 2014.

Dutch care spending similar to that in Belgium, Germany and France

Spending on health care accounts for 14.5 percent of GDP, a proportion that has been stable since 2012. An international definition of health care spending is used to compare the share of this spending in GDP with other countries. This definition does not include spending under the Social support act (WMO), many components of spending under the Exceptional medical expenses act (AWBZ), and welfare and social services. According to this definition, spending on health care in the Netherlands accounted for 11 percent of GDP in 2012, the same share as in Belgium, Germany and France. Spending in the United States was substantially higher at 16 percent; in the United Kingdom it was lower at 9 percent.

Health care spending, 2012

Care financing

Over 72 percent of care spending was financed from funds under the Health care insurance act  and the Exceptional medical expenses act: 68.7 billion euros in 2014, including just over 5.1 billion euros of mandatory contributions of Dutch inhabitants (compulsory health care insurance policy excess and income-dependent contribution to exceptional medical expenses). Care paid for from these funds  accounts for by far most of spending in the budgetary framework for health (BKZ) formulated by the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport. The gross BKZ amounted to 70.2 billion euros in 2014, 1.5 percent more than in 2013.