About the Council
The Council for Public Health and Health Care (Raad voor de Volksgezondheid en Zorg) is the independent body which advises the government on public health and care. The RVZ was instituted by Royal Decree on the 7th of December 1995 in anticipation of the final ruling on the 1st of January 1997.
Independent and authoritative
The RVZ consists of nine members, the president included. Each member has her or his own particular expertise and background: a doctor, a hospital director, a managing director, an ethicist and so on. The RVZ advises independently of direct interests of institutions and organisations, and without losing sight of the forces active within society at large. Its members are appointed by the government.
The most important consulting client is the Minister of Public Health, Welfare and Sports (Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport). Other Ministers, as well as Members of both Houses of Parliament, may also consult the Council. Furthermore, the RVZ can take the initiative to publish unrequested advice. On behalf of the Cabinet, the Minister of VWS annually submits a list of requests for advice to the Council. The RVZ programme is generally based on this list.
The RVZ advises on governmental healthcare policy. A wide area of policy is covered: prevention, health protection, general healthcare, care of the elderly and the disabled. The advice reports encompasses all aspects of policy, including insurance, planning, financing, and training, as well as ethical matters and rights of patients.
The Council tackles subjects which are expected to appear on the political, or socio-political agenda in the near future. Examples of this include the supply of medicines, the health insurance system, the effects of market forces, self-testing, and addict care.
Each advisory report is prepared by one or two members of the Council, supported by a projectteam from the Secretariat. The Council adopt the proposed advice in their plenary meetings. The RVZ may also enlist help from external specialists, both from within and outside the health service. This usually takes place in the form of conferences, interviews or sounding boards. Furthermore, the RVZ commission background studies, which support the advisory reports. It also provides the RVZ with the necessary information on developments society.