Quality, complaints, and disputes in the care sector (Wkkgz)

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Care providers must provide good quality care. Is this not the case? Then, as a care provider, you must be transparent about mistakes that have been made. You also have to deal carefully with complaints about care. The Care Sector Quality, Complaints, and Disputes Act (Wet kwaliteit, klachten en geschillen zorg, Wkkgz) states what exactly good care is and how you supply good quality care. The act also states how to deal with complaints and incidents.

What does the Wkkgz do?

The aim of the Wkkgz act is to improve safety and quality in healthcare. It is important that you learn from your mistakes. If you discuss complaints and mistakes with staff and change your working methods when necessary, this improves the quality of care.

To whom does the Wkkgz apply?

The Wkkgz act applies to:

  • all care providers, such as healthcare institutions and independent professionals like self-employed professionals, general practitioners, and physiotherapists.
  • providers of alternative medicine
  • suppliers of cosmetic procedures

The Wkkgz act does not apply to support under the Social Support act (Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning, Wmo) and the Youth Act (Jeugdwet). You can check if you are bound by the Wkkgz act with the Dutch-language brochure.

Complaints officer

As a care provider you need to have an independent complaints officer. Clients can take their complaints to this complaints officer. If this functionary cannot solve the problem, clients can tun to an independent complaints committee. You must be affiliated to a recognised complaints commission (in Dutch).

Report and discuss incidents

You must have a system in place for your staff to safely report inaccuracies and incidents in care provision. Examples are (near) accidents or technical malfunctions of medical equipment. Staff can discuss their experiences and learn from mistakes (in Dutch). It is up to you how you arrange this.

Client and client files

If a mistake occurred, your client has a right to an explanation and information from their care provider. You have to include the mistake in the client’s files.

Violence and dysfunctioning

You must report violence if a client has been faced with an incident involving violence. You have to report the violent incident to the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd, IGJ, in Dutch). Do you dismiss an employee because they do not perform their work properly (serious dysfunction)? You have to notify the Inspectorate of dismissal after dysfunction (in Dutch)

Arrangements with staff

As a healthcare provider you have a written agreement with all care providers working for you. This agreement sets out all requirements the care providers must meet. You must make sure to check a new employee’s employment history. You can for example consult the BIG register or ask your new employee for a certificate of conduct.

Quality requirements for care institutions

All institutions providing care must meet specific quality requirements. This is not only set out in the Wkkgz act, but also in the Healthcare Insurance act, the Long-term Care act, and the BIG act.

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