English information

Welcome! You are on the website of the NAPA, the Dutch Association of Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistant, shortly PA, is the name of a relatively new profession, introduced in the Netherlands in 2000, using the extensive experiences from the United States of America. The PA profession is positioned in the medical continuum. De PA works independently and in collaboration with a physician and offers professional medical care. The introduction of PA’s has resulted in both better continuity and higher quality of medical care and has improved efficiency and productivity in pre-hospital and hospital care. At this moment we have more than 2300 PAs working in the Netherlands. A lot of PA are NAPA member. This website informs you about the PA profession, the professional organization and links to other web locations with relevant information about the PA and the PA programs.

Please contact us for comments or requests for additional information: info@napa.nl

In this video Jill Muijrers tells about her work & study and how you can become a PA in the Netherlands (made by Sitha Caessens @imovements.nl)

More video’s and articles

  1. Watch the video’s made by filmmaker Adam Halbur and read his article about the PA in the Netherlands:

2. Read this edition of The Social Innovations Journal with 31 case studies in different countries with examples of task-shifting ‘A Healthcare Workforce Cadre That Meets A Country’s Needs‘. This article describes the Netherlands Physician Assistant.

3. Watch this series interviews those who helped start and shape the PA profession in the Netherlands.

Professional Profile

The Physician Assistant (PA) was introduced to the Dutch public health system in 2001. The PA works in various settings, with different tasks, both in primary, secondary and tertiary health care services. The PA is active within almost all areas of the medical domain. This Professional Profile forms the framework for the variable professional practices of the PA.
The profile is written based on cumulative 10 years’ work experience of the PA and cooperating physicians. It is a reflection of the actual professional practice of the PA, as performed within the medical profession. The PA training profile was also used as a guide, for it has had a big impact on the development of the PA profession (practice). A third source was the CBO-framework (CBO = Centraal Begeleidings Orgaan) for professional practice. During the development of the professional profile, the NAPA cooperated closely with The Royal Dutch Medical Association (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot bevordering der Geneeskunst, or KNMG). The NAPA is grateful for the advice received from the policy department of the KNMG. During the preparation for the new task realignment act, there was also close collaboration with the KNMG and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport, or VWS). This collaboration mainly focused on the description of the boundaries in which the PA may practice independently. The NAPA’s professional profile, together with the nationwide competency profile, was recorded in an experimental article of the BIG (Beroepen Individuele Gezondheidszorg Profession Act in individual Health Care Act and the corresponding General Disposition of Management. This was affected and introduced on 1 January 2012 for a period of 5 years. Within this legislation the PA, as a profession, is protected. It is expected that this legislation will become permanent after the 5 year period.

Professional Code

The professional code was developed by the Commission for Quality and Education of the Netherlands Association of Physician Assistants (NAPA). It represents the common values, standards and code of conduct applicable to the physician assistant (PA). The code does not refer to the daily tasks of the PA. These are described in the professional profile as developed by the NAPA.
PAs who apply for membership to the quality register (BIG-register), automatically endorse this professional code. This is also applies to PAs still in training.

Quality Assurance

One of the most important aims of the NAPA is to be able to guarantee the quality of all Dutch Physician Assistants. The following means have been developed to achieve this aim, the establishment of:

  • Quality Assurance Register
  • Professional code of conduct
  • Professional profiles

Independency of Physician Assistants (PA) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) regulated in the Netherlands

(3 October 2017) After a five-year experiment, the Dutch parliament and Dutch Senate agreed to give PA and NP full independence in diagnosing, initiating treatment and performing medical procedures. These medical tasks are mostly non-complex procedures that can be executed autonomous by an NP or PA. This also includes prescribing medication.

Both professions are trained to take medical and organizational tasks from medical doctors. The results of evaluation studies of the experiment are positive: PA and NP provide efficient and high quality care. The Dutch Minister of Health  Ms. Schippers decided to change the act BIG (law on individual medical professionals) which regulates the performances of medical professionals.

The amendment will take effect on July 1, 2018. PAs and NPs will have a legal position to perform the following medical tasks independently:

  1. catheterizations,
  2. surgical procedures,
  3. injections,
  4. punctures,
  5. prescribe medication,
  6. endoscopies,
  7. elective, electrical cardioversion and
  8. defibrillation.

This autonomous legal role means that the PA can provide independent diagnosis and start the treatment, but the PAs has to make agreements with their employer and the medical doctors about the scope of practice.

There are also some other conditions. The quality of the performance  of the medical tasks must be according to national guidelines and protocols.

From July 1, 2018 the title Physician Assistant in the Netherlands is a protected title that only PAs can use who successfully completed a accreditated Master’s degree Physician Assistant. Also from July 2018 every PA is listed in a public  register.