The Netherlands: Ombudsman will investigate medical care for asylum seekers

February 25, 2013

In the Netherlands, the National Ombudsman will start an investigation into the medical care for asylum seekers and people whose applications have been rejected. The Ombudsman received a complaint from a physician who provided medical assistance to rejected asylum seekers living in a camp in the village of Ter Apel in the spring of 2012.

The volunteer doctors working in the camp saw a few hundred patients with various diseases who had not received any treatment before. The doctors found that these people had been long deprived of adequate medical care even though they had lived recently in refugee centres or penitentiary institutions where medical care should be available for them.

A National Ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government or parliament, who addresses complaints of maladministration or violation of rights with a significant degree of independence. The National Ombudsman in the Netherlands will investigate to what extent the Dutch government is guaranteeing accessible health care for (former) asylum seekers. Under Dutch law, rejected asylum seekers and other undocumented people should have access to basic medical care. He hopes to complete this study before the summer of 2013.