In some respects, the Dutch seem to be fore-runners in Europe. Occupational health care for all workers can be considered as a substantial progress. Nonetheless, The Netherlands has taken the lead in Europe regarding high work pressure, sickness absence and disability for work. The resulting focus on sickness absence management in many companies is associated with changes in the tasks and position of the occupational physician. Quality of occupational health care is not always as high as it should be, partly as a result of the commercial approach occupational health services have to adopt nowadays. However, the post-academic education programme, with special attention for training of skills, is increasingly adapted to occupational physicians working in a commercial environment. Moreover, a basis has been laid for a better infrastructure and occupational physicians show an increase in professional enthusiasm. Furthermore, co-operation between different professionals has become increasingly common, resulting in a more comprehensive support for companies. Efforts are being made for better co-operation with general practitioners and medical specialists. Finally, the priorities for future research have been clearly outlined by a programming study. Experts are in demand for studies regarding implementation and evaluation of interventions, especially cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, work stress and musculoskeletal disorders remain on the research agenda.

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International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Weel, A. N. H., van der Beek, A., Kroon, P., Verbeek, J., & van Dijk, F. J. H. (1999). Recent changes in occupational medicine in The Netherlands. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (Vol. 72, pp. 285–291). doi:10.1007/s004200050376