Straatdokters slaan alarm over epidemie van onverzekerde daklozen
Open

Ter discussie
21-03-2016
Marcel T. Slockers, Igor R.A.L. van Laere en Ronald B.J. Smit

Street doctors warn of epidemic of uninsured homeless persons in the Netherlands

Over the past few years, the Netherlands Street Doctors Group, a national network of doctors and nurses providing outreach primary care to homeless people in the Netherlands, has observed a growing number of homeless patients who do not have health insurance resulting in their access to healthcare services and medication being limited. In this article we raise the alarm about the epidemic of uninsured Dutch homeless. We explain and comment on the reasons why people are no longer insured and elaborate on the regulations and obligations related to homelessness and the characteristics of consumers and providers of social and medical services. We describe how difficult it is for homeless people to become re-insured as in order to follow a complex set of requirements commitment and patience are necessary. For most homeless patients, the re-insurance process requires the personal guidance and support of a motivated case manager. Consequently, we suggest that policy makers and service providers should have a better understanding of factors contributing to being uninsured and more compassion for those who are.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.