The future of the Dutch mental health sector

In July 2018 the main Dutch mental health stakeholders (including Mental Health Netherlands and the Ministry of Health) agreed on a joint ambition for mental health. This ambition clearly shows that the Dutch mental health landscape will change quickly in the coming years. There will be a strong focus on integrated care and care in the right place. The latter essentially means: prevent expensive care, provide care closer to home (if possible), provide more ambulant care and replace regular care with other support such as eHealth.  

The role of community support teams will increase further, as more care will be brought into the neighbourhood, closer to where people live. More mental health professionals will join these multidisciplinary teams in the coming year. This will be quite a change as psychologists and psychiatrists are used to seeing their patients only at the treatment centers. In addition, these professionals will also have to take into account their patients’ home situation such as their social network, debt problems and employment. One municipality person will be responsible for coordinating all necessary care for each person.     

People with lived experiences will become an integral part of the care structure. They will be employed by treatment centers or other support organisations and will be paid by municipalities and insurance companies. 

Stakeholders will cooperate to develop a future-proof education system for mental health care - a system in which prevention (nutrition and lifestyle) and the use of eHealth are structurally embedded, alongside the mental health care standards. 

On the financial side there will be a focus on multi-annual agreements with insurance companies and lower administrative burdens. Care givers must provide relevant, effective and affordable quality care, and patients must be given clear choices. 

In 2019 a new reimbursement experiment will be implemented which supports a new achievement structure in which professionals who contribute most to the reduction of waiting lists will be covered by the insurance company, such as social workers and people with lived experience 

The new funding structure will support correct and timely up- or down-grading of care and proper use of care. Stakeholders will jointly cooperate with the National Care Authority (NZa) to develop a faced in implementation of the new reimbursement system, in which the results of the cluster model pilot (which builds on the NHS cluster model) are included.  

In the meantime - before the new reimbursement system is in place - the National Care Authority will be asked how to reduce the incentive for delivering ineffective care and increase incentives for effective care. The new reimbursement system should become effective from January 1st 2020 

The future is coming; get ready!


by Oyono Vlijter, Arq Foundation, Netherlands – September 19th 2018 

Source: Onderhandelaarsakkoord Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg (GGZ) 2019 t/m 2022 (3 juli 2018) “Toekomstbeeld / ambitie voor de GGZ)

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