Belgium’s health service functions well. Financed by the state and national and private insurance, its many hospitals are modern, well managed and offer high-quality care and treatment. Bills are paid immediately (for insurance, see ‘Healthcare’ in 'Administrative information' section). Healthcare related to hospital admissions are billed directly to the health insurance funds and the patient is only billed for the patient’s contribution. Pharmacists are highly professional and an excellent resource for advice and remedies for minor aches and pains. Pharmacies are generally open 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and increasingly Saturday mornings, and particular pharmacies (pharmacies de garde) are open nights and weekends.
Your GP is the first person to contact if you are ill. He or she is interested in the health of the whole person, and will provide treatment, offer personalised advice and may refer you to a specialist if needed. You can contact a GP at any time, even at night and at the weekend, using the organised on-call system.
On-call medical doctors (médecins de garde) are available for non-emergencies; contact information is available on commune websites, e.g. Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve (02 38 50 500). Options in Brussels include La Garde Bruxelloise and SOS Médecins.
At some point in the future, dialling 1733 anywhere in Belgium will connect callers to the nearest on-call doctor.