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Enforcement of upcoming Dutch BIG obligations postponed

The Dutch Inspectorate for Health and Youth Care (IGJ) will not enforce the visible display of the BIG-number by BIG-registered care providers until further notice. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport indicated it wants a solution for the administrative burdens associated with the revised Dutch Healthcare Professionals Act (Wet BIG) and sufficient time for implementation.

The purpose of the BIG Act is to ensure the quality of care provided by healthcare providers. For that purpose, a so-called BIG register was established. Those healthcare providers registered in the register are legally authorised to use the protected title associated with the profession in question. This makes expertise immediately recognisable. Moreover, healthcare providers registered in the BIG register are subjected to disciplinary law. The BIG register is publicly available and there are currently over 350,000 care providers registered in the register.

The BIG Act has recently been amended in a number of respects. One of these aspects is the obligation for BIG-registered healthcare providers to state their BIG number. This amendment was introduced, since finding an individual healthcare provider in the register by name has proven to be problematic in certain cases. This occurs, for example, in the case of similar surnames and/or initials. The active publication of the BIG registration number should resolve this issue.

The BIG number must be shown in places where the name and profession of a BIG-registered healthcare provider are published. The law states at least the following places:

  • websites and other digital media;
  •  stationery and e-mail signature;
  • invoices; and
  • in waiting rooms.

The amendments in the BIG Act will take effect as of 1 April 2019.

A prior version of this post was originally published by the same authors in Practical Law - Life Sciences, March 2019 Issue (Thomson Reuters).