Explanation of disciplinary measures and criminal penalties

Under the Dutch BIG Act, the following disciplinary measures can be imposed on healthcare providers.

Monetary fine (Geldboete)
The disciplinary commission can impose a monetary fine on the healthcare provider of up to €4,500. The healthcare provider remains authorised to pursue his or her profession after this measure has been imposed.

Competency limitation order (Bevoegdheidsbeperkend bevel)
The body responsible for supervising the BIG Act, the Healthcare Inspectorate, can issue the healthcare provider a written order if the inspector decides that the healthcare provider has failed to meet the requirements set out in the BIG Act relating to professional quality. The healthcare provider is required to comply with the competency limitation order within the term stipulated for this.

Reprimand (Berisping )
The disciplinary commission can reprimand the healthcare provider. In this case the commission is judging the professional’s conduct. He or she has committed a seriously culpable act and is reproved for this. The healthcare provider remains authorised to carry out his or her profession after this measure has been imposed.

Conditional suspension (Voorwaardelijke schorsing)
The disciplinary commission may impose a conditional suspension. The suspension only takes effect if during a probationary period of two years the healthcare provider fails to comply with specific conditions. During this probationary period the healthcare provider can continue to use his or her title and carry out his or her profession. The healthcare provider retains the rights associated therewith.
Example: the disciplinary commission may require a general practitioner to follow a refresher course or not to make the same mistake again during a probationary period.

Suspension (Schorsing)
A healthcare provider’s registration in the BIG Register can be suspended for up to one year. During this period the healthcare provider is not allowed to use his or her title or carry out his or her profession. The healthcare provider loses the rights associated therewith.

Suspension, followed by conditional suspension (Schorsing, gevolgd door voorwaardelijke schorsing)
A healthcare provider’s registration in the BIG Register can be suspended for up to one year. During this period the healthcare provider is not allowed to use his or her title or carry out his or her profession. The healthcare provider loses the rights associated therewith.
The disciplinary commission may also have decided that immediately following this suspension, conditional suspension will follow. This so called ‘conditional suspension’ only takes effect if within a probationary period of no more than two years the healthcare provider does not comply with specific conditions. During this probationary period the healthcare provider can continue to use his or her title and carry out his or her profession. The healthcare provider retains the rights associated therewith.

Limited disqualification (Gedeeltelijke ontzegging)
Under this measure the healthcare provider remains registered in the BIG Register but is no longer allowed to perform certain acts. The disciplinary commission determines which acts the healthcare provider is no longer allowed to perform. A note of this limited disqualification is inserted in the BIG Register alongside the registration of the healthcare provider.
Example: a general practitioner is no longer allowed to supervise births, while he or she is allowed to continue to perform other work as a general practitioner.

Suspension as a provisional measure (Schorsing als voorlopige voorziening)
Pending a decision on appeal, a temporary suspension of the healthcare provider’s registration is possible. This so called ‘suspension as a provisional measure’ can only be imposed in combination with the measure: cancellation of the registration (in the BIG Register). In this case the healthcare provider’s registration is suspended until the decision to cancel the registration in the BIG Register has either become irrevocable or has been nullified. During this period the healthcare provider is not allowed to use his or her title or carry out his or her profession. The healthcare provider loses the rights associated therewith.

Cancellation (Doorhaling)
Under this measure the healthcare provider is struck from off the BIG Register. The healthcare provider loses the title and is no longer allowed to carry out the profession under this title. If the healthcare provider does use this title or exercises the rights associated therewith, it this is a criminal offence.

Disqualification of registration after cancellation (on demand or not) Ontzegging van het recht wederom ingeschreven te worden)
If, during the ruling of the disciplinary commission, the healthcare provider’s registration is cancelled at his or her own request, the disciplinary court can impose the measure ’disqualification of registration after cancellation’ on the healthcare provider. The healthcare provider has lost his or her title due to the cancellation and is not allowed to carry out the profession under this title. If the healthcare provider does use this title or exercises the rights associated therewith, this is a criminal offence.

2 Criminal penalties

Health professionals in the Netherlands (registered or not) who have been convicted of an offence under criminal law can also be prohibited to pursue their profession by a judgement of a criminal court. In this case it is an additional penalty imposed by the criminal court. The judgement is not public. However in case of a BIG registered health professional his or her cancellation will be included on the public list, as mentioned here above.

BIG-register