Healthcare Quality, Complaints and Disputes Act (Wkkgz)

The Healthcare Quality, Complaints and Disputes Act (Wkkgz) aims to provide quality care for everyone in the Netherlands. But what exactly do you need to consider as an organisation? And how can you best comply with Wkkgz?

What is the Wkkgz?

The Wkkgz was introduced in 2016 to ensure that people have access to quality healthcare by protecting patients and ensuring effective administration of complaints and disputes.

What does the Wkkgz regulate?

  • Dealing swiftly and directly with complaints: Practice shows that a conversation between patients and their healthcare provider works best. As ofJanuary 1st, 2017, people can contact the healthcare provider’s complaints officer free of charge. The complaints officer can initiate such a conversation. What happens if such a conversation does not resolve the problem? The client can then file a lawsuit. The law also offers a low-threshold alternative for this: the independent disputes body. This issues a ruling that both parties must comply with.
  • Employees can report incidents safely: Employees must be able to report incidents in safety. The aim is for colleagues to discuss the incident with each other, learn from it and by doing so, improve the care they give.
  • Stronger position of the client: The client has the right to accurate information if something has gone wrong in the provision of care. The healthcare provider must discuss the mistake with the client and record it in the client file.
  • Comprehensive reporting obligation for healthcare providers: From now on, healthcare providers must report all forms of violence in the healthcare relationship to the Dutch Healthcare and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ).

To whom is the Wkkgz intended?

The Wkkgz applies to all healthcare providers. Both healthcare institutions and independent professionals, such as freelancers. Consider, for example nursing homes, hospitals, general practitioners and physiotherapists. Company doctors and insurance doctors who assess the state of health of clients or provide clients with medical guidance also are subject to the Act.

The law also applies to providers of cosmetic treatments, but it does not to acts of beauticians and make-up artists if they:

  • cleanse the skin and apply skin-care creams or (non-permanent) make-up;
  • use means that do not harm the client’s health.

Overview of obligations imposed by the Wkkgz

The Wkkgz prescribes several obligations to improve care. Employment screening can help you comply with some of these articles. These are highlighted below:

  • Duty to verify (vergewisplicht): Perhaps the most important part of the Act when it comes to integrity and quality in healthcare. The duty to verify means that a healthcare institution must check how new healthcare providers have performed in the past when hiring.
  • Mandatory application of a certificate of conduct (VOG): For certain professions within the healthcare sector, it is obliged to apply for a VOG (with profile 45) since the introduction of the Wkkgz.

Supervision of compliance with the Wkkgz

The Healthcare and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) is a Dutch government agency that supervises the compliance with the Wkkgz. In fact, healthcare providers that are subject to the Wkkgz are obliged to report a number of situations to the IGJ as soon as possible.

These include:

  • healthcare emergencies;
  • violence in the healthcare relation;
  • dismissal of a healthcare provider due to dysfunction.