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How to find an English-speaking doctor in Brussels

General practitioners can be found in private practices or attached to clinics and hospitals. You have the freedom to consult or register with whomever you choose. Embassies usually keep lists of doctors who can work in your language; many doctors have a good understanding of English.

The Community Help Service (CHS) also offers a 24/7 helpline (02.648.40.14), providing contact details of local medical professionals, as well as general information and anonymous support. The Bulletin Q and A forum is also a good place for recommendations. If you need a doctor outside normal practice hours, visit or call a duty doctor (médecin de garde/wachtdienst). Local newspapers publish this information. You may arrange to see a specialist of your choice; it’s not essential to have a referral from a general practitioner, though he or she can advise you.

Ask around

Some employers offer free in-house medical services or have a list of recommended doctors. Another option is contacting your local consulate or embassy, which usually keeps a list of doctors and dentists speaking your native language. If proximity is important, mgbru.be should be your first stop. This online directory tells you which doctors live nearest to you, their contact information, hours and languages spoken. The Brussels White Pages also have a GP section that includes specialists.

How much do you have to pay?

According to the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance, the fixed fee for a general physician in Belgium as of 2014 is €20.92. For members of a mutual insurance association or European Health Insurance Card carriers, this rate is commonly reimbursed by up to 75%. This base price increases if the visit is out-of-hours (nights and weekends) or a home consultation, or if the doctor is a specialist. A doctor can add private fees to this base rate; avoid such charges by asking in advance if the doctor has signed up to the mutuelle/ziekenfonds agreement on charges and applies the base rate (more than 80% of GPs fall into this category).

Alternative places to try

In the densely expat-populated Brussels, the best practitioners, particularly specialists, are often overbooked. Those seeking more readily available yet high-quality doctors may want to consider one of Brussels’ medical centres. These centres house several general practitioners and specialists and therefore can offer more immediate availability (although possibly not the same doctor every time). Family planning centres also exist in Brussels and are a viable alternative to a gynaecologist.

(photocredits: Kurhan)

RB

Categories:   Health

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