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If you want to work as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands, you must register in the BIG register in addition to having professional qualifications and diplomas.
Does your profession have a protected title?
There are 9 healthcare professions which have a protected title under the Individual Healthcare Act (Wet op de Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg, BIG). If yours has a protected title, you have to register in the BIG register. The BIG register has been set up to protect patients against professional misconduct and medical errors.
The 9 professions are:
- Health psychologist
- Physician Assistant
What is a BIG registration?
The BIG registration clearly states what a healthcare professional can and cannot do. For instance whether or not a healthcare professional is allowed to give certain injections or perform certain operations. Everyone can look up the name of a healthcare professional in the register. If your name is in the register, it means:
- You have a professional certificate from a recognised body;
- You can carry out your work without limitations;
- You do not have any physical or mental problems which prevent you from working.
Displaying your BIG registration number
You are obliged to actively display your BIG registration number. Patients can then check whether a healthcare professional is competent and qualified. You have to display your BIG registration number (or those of any healthcare professionals you employ) wherever you display your name and profession. This means you must display your BIG registration number on your:
- website and digital media
- stationary and email signature
- and hospital or surgery waiting rooms
The register is a central, official register of healthcare professionals, that is kept on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).
If you have a foreign diploma and you would like to work as a care provider in the Netherlands, you can have your diploma recognised through BIG register. If your certificate was issued in the Dutch special municipalities of Bonaire, St Eustatius or Saba, then you also need to have your certificate recognised in the same way.
You must re-register in the BIG register every 5 years to prove you still meet the requirements for your profession. To do so, you must meet the work experience and education requirements. The criteria are different for each profession (in Dutch). If you do not re-register, your name is removed and you are no longer allowed to carry out your profession.
If you make a medical error or fail to meet the requirements to practice as a medical professional, a disciplinary court may impose disciplinary measures. Such measures may for example be a fine, a warning or temporary suspension from your duties. In this case, your name is added to a list of healthcare professionals subject to disciplinary measures. If you have committed a serious offence (indecency, violence, murder, manslaughter), the disciplinary court may ban you from pratice. This means you can no longer work at all as a healthcare professional. This can also happen if you commit a serious offence outside your profession or if you do other work, but remain registered in the BIG register.