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Not enough Brussels residents have a GP

12:46 13/06/2023

Too few Brussels residents have a general practitioner or family doctor, according to the Belgian capital’s Common Community Commission (Cocom).

While 70% of people in Wallonia and 86% of those living in Flanders have a GP they see regularly, just 64% of people in Brussels can say the same.

The difference between the regions can be explained by the “specific demographic characteristics of Brussels”, according to Cocom, which launched an awareness campaign this week aimed at increasing this number.

Part of those demographic characteristics is a large number of foreign residents, and another is the fact that specialists or emergency departments are called upon more often for problems that could be treated by a GP.

There are also economic and cultural factors such as language barriers, or a lack of understanding of the system.

There are differences within Brussels itself: the percentage of residents with a GP is highest in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (73%) and lowest in Ixelles (51%).

The awareness campaign from Cocom highlights the many advantages of consulting a GP: smoother patient follow-up, centralisation of medical information thanks to a comprehensive medical file and overall better knowledge of the patient's medical history, which results in more optimal care and better reimbursement of healthcare costs.

The awareness campaign is being launched through social networks, billboards and the website Short videos also include explanations by a Brussels doctor on the need for a regular relationship between patients and GPs.

Written by Helen Lyons