One of the best and most valued services we’ve discovered since moving to The Hague is SMASH — an out-of-hours emergency GP (huisarts) service.
Via their telephone line (070 346 96 69) SMASH offers medical advice and referrals to see a doctor quickly at the Westeinde, HagaZiekenhuis (Leyweg) or MCH Antoniushove hospitals at all the times when your normal doctor probably isn’t available: evenings, in the middle of the night, during weekends and holidays. That means:
- Every working day from 5pm to 8am the next day
- During the weekend from Friday evening at 5pm to Monday morning at 8am
- On holidays from 5pm the day before to 8am the day after
SMASH isn’t for ‘common’ questions that can wait until the next day. It’s for emergency questions which aren’t life threatening but are serious enough that you don’t want to wait until the doctor’s office opens again. If you are facing a life threatening situation such as a heart attack, please call 112 and not SMASH.
In our case, we’ve used SMASH to help know what to do when kids woke up screaming in pain for no apparent reason, or when they were running a high temperature for hours, were listless and wouldn’t drink. We also called when a prescribed medicine seemed to be giving serious adverse effects.
Every time SMASH operators have been helpful, reassuring and quick to refer us to a GP if there’s been any doubt about the cause of the problem.
There’s no cost for the SMASH service (assuming you’re insured in the Netherlands) and, although their website is all in Dutch, the people we’ve spoken to also will talk with you in English.
Save the SMASH number in your phone, or write it down and stick it somewhere obvious so that you can easily find it at midnight. The peace-of-mind they give is priceless.