If a patient asks for a medical declaration, our physicians act on the basis of guidelines, drawn up by the KNMG (the Royal Dutch Medical Association), the professional organization for physicians in the Netherlands.
A few explanatory remarks on these guidelines:
- KNMG’s viewpoint is that a consulting physician is not the right person to issue medical declarations on behalf of his or her patients, in which he or she expresses an opinion about the patient’s (medical) ability or disability to perform certain things. For instance, is someone able to work, drive a car, go to school, take care of the children, are there reasons to cancel a trip valid, does someone deserve a parking permit or adapted housing?
- Declarations as such should only be issued by an independent physician (i.e. not your own doctor). This physician is able to make an assessment of the situation. If necessary, the physician may ask your consulting physician for additional information but only with your consent.
The two main reasons for this viewpoint are:
- KNMG thinks it is important that your consulting physician focuses on your treatment and establishes a confidential relationship with you. A physician should not become involved in a situation of conflicting interests. To prevent this, a clear distinction has to be made between the treatment of a patient and the assessment whether or not certain facilities are necessary. This is to ensure that you feel no impediments to give your physician all the information for your treatment.
- Secondly, your consulting physician is often not aware of the criteria which are to applied for the allocation of certain facilities, making it difficult to come to a well-considered decision. It is to your own advantage that the physician issuing a medical declaration knows which aspects are of importance.
What other possibilities are left?
- You could ask the authority requiring the medical declarations whether a declaration in which you describe your state of health will suffice or if they could send you a questionnaire to fill in.
- You could ask your physician to make a copy of your medical file in which certain important facts regarding your health are mentioned (for instance results of a walking test or an eye test) and send it to the authority requiring the medical declaration.
- You could contact an independent physician for an assessment. With your consent he or she is allowed to ask your consulting physician for factual information regarding your state of health and incorporate this in his or her assessment.