OBJECTIVE To determine how the results of Dutch healthcare policy compare with other European countries, based on a recent comparison of national performance in 10 different areas of preventive healthcare policy. DESIGN Literature study and analysis of information retrieved from international databases. METHOD The following areas were examined: tobacco, alcohol, nutrition, pregnancy and childbirth, youth healthcare, infectious diseases, hypertension, cancer screening, road safety, and air pollution. Based on literature reviews, a set of 27 'process' and 'outcome' indicators was developed as well as a summary score for the results of the national healthcare policy. RESULTS Striking differences were found in preventive health policy between European countries in each of the 10 areas. In the European ranking, the Netherlands occupies fifth position after Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland. In most areas, the Netherlands performs better than the European average, but that does not apply to tobacco control. If the Netherlands performed as well as Sweden in all areas, a substantial number of deaths due to lung cancer, (post)neonatal causes, breast cancer and traffic injuries could be avoided. CONCLUSION Although the Netherlands is one of the most successful countries in Europe in healthcare policy, greater effort would be required for true excellence.

Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Mackenbach, J.P, & McKee, M. (2013). Healthcare policy performance in the Netherlands: A European comparison. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 157(13). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/92009