Care expenditure 5.2 percent up in 2019

In 2019, expenditure on care and welfare, including child care, amounted to 106.2 billion euros. This is over 5 billion euros (5.2 percent) more than in the previous year. The growth rate has not been this high since 2009. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new, provisional figures.

Last year, care expenditure in the broad sense grew slightly faster than the economy causing a rise in care spending as a share of GDP from 13.0 percent (2018) to 13.1 percent (2019). When defined along internationally agreed guidelines, total healthcare expenditure - not including welfare, child care and a portion of elderly care among other costs - amounted to 80.9 billion euros, i.e. 3.7 billion euros and 4.8 percent) more than in 2018.

The increase in care expenditure coincided with a rising number of workers in the healthcare and welfare sector. In Q4 2019, the workforce stood at 1.35 million, representing an increase of 3.9 percent (nearly 51 thousand workers) relative to Q4 2018.

Development of care expenditure
jaarCare and welfare (% of GDP)Health care, international definition (% of GDP)

Care expenditure decreased slightly as a share of GDP between 2013 and 2019. The spikes in the above graph are the result of a hike in care expenditure (e.g. to dissolve waiting lists in the early 2000s for instance) or of an economic recession such as the one in 2008-2009.

11-percent increase in child care expenditure

The highest percentage increase in care spending was on account of child care by 11.0 percent to a total of 4.8 billion euros. Aside from a rising number of children and hours of care, child care rates went up last year due to new quality requirements, such as an increased number of professionals per child as of 1 January 2019.

6.9 percent more for nursing and (home) care

Spending on providers of nursing, care and home care services increased by 6.9 percent to 20.2 billion euros. This is partly due to the funds made available to nursing homes to improve the quality of care (1.2 billion euros in 2019). In addition, the number of days of care provided to people in nursing homes increased by 3 percent and the number of days provided to people with a Volledig Pakket Thuis (full package at home, under the long-term care act) by 15 percent. As a result of these developments, the number of people employed in this sector rose by more than 6 percent.

Increase in expenditure on care and welfare by care providers, 2019
Aanbieders met als hoofdactiviteit (% of growth relative to 2018)% of growth 2018-2019 (% of growth relative to 2018)
Child care11
General practitioner care7.1
Nursing and (home) care6.9
Care for the disabled5.8
Mental health care4.4
Specialist medical care4.1
Other care3.6
Total care providers5.2

4.4 billion euros spent on primary care

Just as in 2018, expenditure on primary care (general practitioner care, including multidisciplinary care) saw relatively strong growth: by 7.1 percent to 4.4 billion euros. The government's agreement with general practitioners for the period 2019 to 2022 provides for an additional budget.

Expenditure on providers of specialist medical care increased by 4.1 percent to 29.1 billion euros in 2019. This accounts for 27 percent of total care expenditure. Spending on paramedical practices (2.3 billion euros), dental practices (3.0 billion euros) and providers of youth care (2.4 billion euros) rose slightly, by between 2 and 3 percent.