Finding a Doctor

Information on how to find a general practitioner or medical specialist, plus details on referrals and medical records...

In Belgium, each patient is free to choose his or her doctor. While most health professionals operate in line with the health insurance system (thereby maintaining fairly standard prices), there are some who combine this with private services, as well as those who operate on an entirely private basis.

It is important to be aware that some doctors may charge more for their services, in which case the patient will be required to cover more of the cost themselves. It is a legal requirement for Belgian doctors to post their fees in a visible place in their surgery, therefore it should be clear if a doctor is conventionné/geconventioneerd (i.e. adheres to the standard federal outline for health insurance and pricing) or not.

As well as varying from doctor to doctor, costs can also change according to the type of treatment received (for example, treatment in a single room instead of a shared room can be more expensive). Some doctors charge according to the place and time of the consultation (for example, whether it is held in the doctor’s surgery or at the patient's home, or whether it is during the evening or at the weekend). Therefore, it is important to check in advance, where possible, the proportion of the costs which will be covered by the health insurance scheme.

  • To find a doctor in Belgium, search the “Gold Pages” for contact details of doctors in your area (in French) or visit the Dutch version

The Community Help Service offers a 24 hour helpline (available in English, French, Flemish, German and Spanish) for those seeking contact details of local medical professionals, as well as providing general information and anonymous support.

Medical records and registering with a general practitioner

Medical records are not centralised in Belgium. As patients are free to choose any doctor, and can even see several doctors at the same time, the patient has a responsibility to tell a doctor if another doctor also holds his/her records.

To encourage a patient to have their medical records held with a single doctor, the Dossier Médical Global/Het Globaal Medisch Dossier system has been introduced. In return for a registration fee (completely reimbursed by the mutuelle), patients can choose a main general practitioner who keeps their central record and, in return, a larger proportion of the consultation fees are reimbursed by the health insurance fund. 

Specialist Medical Care

It is not essential to have a referral from a general practitioner in order to see a specialist, however it can mean cheaper care. In order to qualify for reduced charges for specialist treatment, there are certain requirements:

  • The patient must have proof of a single primary general practitioner (Dossier Médical Global/Het Globaal Medisch Dossier) who must complete an official form and provide a referral letter
  • The specialist must belong to one of the listed categories that qualify for the system.