A recent survey among internationals could hardly be clearer: if there is one thing an expat in Eindhoven wants, it’s primary health care with an international orientation. For in addition to cultural gaps, language barriers, varying expectations, and a general unfamiliarity with the Dutch health care system, many internationals do not understand the prominent role of the General Practitioner (GP, the huisarts).

A year ago, in November 2015, SGE international primary health care center opened its doors at Strijp-S, Eindhoven. With the help of TU/e, Holland Expat Center South, IHS (International Health Services) and MRE (Metropolitan Region Eindhoven), SGE decided it had become time to solve the primary medical needs of the expats in a different way.

The fact that Dutch health care is acclaimed to be one of the best systems in the world is not reflected in the confidence internationals have in this system. As well, trust in doctors and their capability to make a proper diagnosis and effectively treat health issues, appeared low amongst Internationals.

In December 2014, SGE made a commitment to work with the international community in Eindhoven by ‘closing the gap’ in health care. Internationals were invited to join a panel that would help SGE in the process of implementing SGE International. During these dialogues, it became clear that people with an international background are not necessarily demanding the services they are accustomed to, but, first and foremost, want to feel safe in a system they don’t know.

SGE International offers health care services aimed at answering the needs and questions of internationals. It is run by medical staff, who have been specifically trained in multi-cultural differences and there are, for example, longer consultation times, modern e-health technology, online registration, online repeat prescription, call-back request and online appointment scheduling. And of course, all information is provided in English.

SGE International is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 to 17:00. If it is necessary to see a doctor on Tuesday, Thursday, or in the weekends, the international will be directed to the closest Dutch medical centre. 

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.