Life-threatening emergencies

What do I do in a life-threatening emergency in the Netherlands?

  • Emergency helpline:

Call 112 (toll-free) for urgent assistance in life-threatening situations or if you witness a crime. The number can be used to report emergencies of various types, such as a road accident, a fire or an intruder, where every second counts. The operator who answers will immediately alert the appropriate emergency service: the fire brigade, police or ambulance service.

  • Emergency number if you’re deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impediment:

If you’re hearing impaired and need urgent assistance, you can call 112 from a smart phone, tablet or computer that has the Tolkcontact app installed on it. Tolkcontact lets you have a phone conversation using text, voice and video. Click on the link to request the software.

  • Maastricht University Hospital emergency department phone number:

0031-43-387 67 00

When can I go to a hospital emergency department in the Netherlands?

The accident and emergency (A&E, or spoedeisende hulp) department of a hospital is meant for life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate specialist medical treatment.

You should always contact your GP before going to the A&E. The only exceptions to this are life-threatening emergencies. In these situations, you should call 112 immediately. If the 112 emergency center doesn’t send an ambulance, they’ll tell you where you can go. You’ll have to arrange the transport yourself.

Overall, you will only be given medical attention at a hospital emergency department if:

  • You become unwell or if you are injured and you need to go to the hospital immediately (by ambulance)
  • Your general practitioner refers you to the emergency department. If you did not visit your GP first, there is a possibility that the specialist at the emergency department will refer you back to your GP

This is why it’s very important to call your GP first (in cases where your life is not threatened). Otherwise, you might just be wasting your time in going to an emergency room, only to be sent back to consult with your GP.

Check out the Maastricht University Hospital’s emergency department webpage for more information.

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