The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), advises doctors and care facilities today that patients who only want to be treated by a male or female doctor must state this when making an appointment. If the request is only expressed in the care facility, the doctor does not have to comply.
In emergency situations, the patient has no choice and will be served with the available offer of doctors, says the umbrella organization. The right to free choice of doctor is therefore not unlimited. More than that, when making an appointment patients can only express their preference for the sex of the doctor and not for example for a certain skin color, political conviction or religion.
The discussion about the right of free choice of doctor flared up last year after several Muslim women refused the help of a male doctor. Minister of Health Ab Klink said that it was not an offense if a woman refused a male doctor, provided that the health of a third party wasn't endangered, for example of an unborn child.
Gert van Dijk, KNMG ethicist, says that it was never forbidden for patients to refuse a doctor, but that they couldn't just demand another doctor. "It's not an obligation for a hospital to bring another doctor if another had been rejected."
About 43,000 doctors are members of the KNMG.
Source: Trouw (English)
See also: Netherlands: Female patients have right to refuse male doctor