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Right to health

You have the right to become or stay in good health. This is written in the law. You therefore have the right to a clean home in a healthy place. A home that isn’t broken or damp. You also have a right to medicine or medical help. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

This convention includes all rights of children. The Dutch government has to adhere to this.

In artikel 24 van het Kinderrechtenverdrag staat: Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states: That you have the right to proper health care. If you need it (physical or mental), you may go to the doctor or the hospital.
European regulations

A major European arrangement is the Reception Directive The Reception Directive includes all the rights of asylum seekers in Europe

The government must ensure that asylum seekers can stay healthy. The government must ensure that asylum seekers get all medical help (for instance an operation or medicine) that is required to stay healthy. This is mentioned in article 15 of Directive 2003/9/EC of the Council of the European Union laying down the minimum standards of the reception of asylum seekers in the member states.
The Dutch law

Important regulations about health care for asylum seekers

These are stated in the Koppelingswet, the Immigration Law, the Regulation of Care for Asylum Seekers and the Medical Treatment Agreement Act (WGBO).

Immigration Law

Immigration Law states that people without a residence permit don’t have a right to, for instance, social security payment or pension. An exception has been made for health care: people without a residence permit do have a right to health care if it concerns 'necessary medical care'. This is all care required to become better if you are sick. There are rules when it concerns health care for people without a residence permit. Read more about this under the subject of Asielprocedure. More information about health care for people without a residence permit can be found in article 10 of the Vreemdelingenwet.

Regulation on Health Care for Asylum seekers (RZA)

All information about health care for asylum seekers is mentioned Regeling Zorg Asielzoekers (RZA). It states, for instance, which care is paid for, but also about the costs.

Medical Treatment Agreement Act (WGBO)

Before a doctor carries out surgery or another medical treatment for you, he or she has to tell you what is going to happen, what the risks are and any other options (so, for instance, a different operation than the one you are having now). This is all mentioned in the Wet op de geneeskundige behandelingsovereenkomst (WGBO). A doctor also has to explain to children (and therefore also child refugees) what is going to happen  during an operation. The law states that the doctor must ensure that small children also understand what’s going on. The doctor must therefore do his or her best to clearly explain everything.

Giving permission

Before a doctor starts to operate, a patient must give permission. If he doesn’t give permission, then a doctor may in principle not operate.
  • Younger than 12 For children younger than 12, the parents must give this permission. If parents don’t want their child to have an operation, they may refuse to give permission for the operation. Parents must always be asked in advance whether they give permission for the operation. This only differs if it concerns a life-threatening situation and the parents can’t be reached. In this case, a doctor can treat children without permission.
  • Between 12 and 16 Children between  12 and 16 may give permission for medical treatment. In addition, permission of the parents is required.
  • Older than 16 Children older than 16 may give permission for an operation, even if their parents don’t want it. If you are 16 or older you can also choose not to give permission for an operation. Only if the doctor finds it extremely important for you to have surgery, does he or she not have to take your permission into account.
Medical dossier A doctor or hospital is obliged to file all medical information about your health in a dossier. Your parents may request this dossier from the doctor or the hospital. It’s in fact very important that they do this, because if you go to another hospital later on, or you move to another country, the doctors will know all about your health. It remains confidential The doctor or the hospital may not pass on information about your health. They may therefore not send your medical dossier to the IND. Only if you (or your parents if you’re younger than 16) give permission for this, may a doctor or hospital send your medical data on to others. 

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