Disciplinary measures imposed abroad and the hardship clause

Has a healthcare professional been imposed a disciplinary measure abroad? The Minister of Health is then required under the BIG Act to strike through the registration in the BIG-register of this healthcare professional. In exceptional cases, the sanction can be waived. This is called the hardship clause.

Transferral of foreign measures

Has a healthcare professional been imposed a sanction abroad that temporarily or permanently restricts their entitlement to practise? Then this sanction is transferred to the Netherlands. It automatically results in removal from the BIG-register.

The Dutch authorities do not first review the incident that prompted the sanction. The Netherlands holds to the principle that healthcare professionals must comply with the laws of the country in which they practise.

Exceptional circumstances

When a registration is struck from the BIG-register, a healthcare professional can no longer practise their profession in the Netherlands. In some cases, transferral of the foreign measure may be very unreasonable. The healthcare professional can then rely on the so-called hardship clause. When the hardship clause is applied, the foreign measure is waived.

For example, in the case of a foreign measure imposed for a reason that has nothing to do with practising their profession. The healthcare professional for example is struck from the register because of a traffic ticket. Or, in the case of a non-serious offense committed abroad that would not lead to a measure in the Netherlands.

The healthcare professional must themselves supply facts and circumstances. They must demonstrate that it is unreasonable in this particular case to transfer the foreign measure.

Patient safety

As soon as the patient’s safety is at risk, the hardship clause will not be applied. The patient must be able to rely on a good quality healthcare and competent caregivers.

Objection and appeal

A healthcare professional can object to and appeal a decision of the transferral of a foreign measure.

Read more about appeals.