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Going to hospital in Belgium: What you need to know

02:03 01/10/2019

Belgium has a wide choice of hospitals and clinics with around 140 public and private general hospitals managed by universities, religious organisations, health insurance funds or social welfare organisations.

The hospitals, which are open 24/7, can be identified by a sign showing a white H on a blue background. Large hospitals have an emergency centre, a maternity ward and sections dedicated to the treatment of children and the elderly. Smaller, specialised hospitals only offer care for specific target groups, such as patients with neurological disorders. Elderly people can find care adapted to their needs in geriatric hospitals.

You can also be referred to a day hospital, where you receive specific surgery and are allowed to return home the same day, under certain conditions. At polyclinics, specialists offer consultations or minor treatments, without the need for an overnight stay. Both day hospitals and polyclinics are usually departments within a general hospital.

About 75% of the cost of your stay at a general hospital is borne by your health insurance fund if you only have basic insurance. You can also get additional hospitalisation insurance, which helps in the case of a long stay in hospital. The amount you have to pay also depends on the kind of room you choose.

If you choose a shared room, you pay a set fee for the room and treatment. For treatment in a single room, you normally have to pay extra. If you live in Brussels, you can also consult iris-hopitaux. be, a network comprising five public hospitals on 11 sites.

The non-profit Healthcare Belgium also provides information in English on the centres of excellence at six hospitals in Brussels and Leuven.

Written by The Bulletin