More complaints about Dutch language services in hospitals

Last year, Flanders received a total of thirteen complaints about Dutch language services in hospitals in Brussels. In five cases, complaints related to urgent medical assistance.

This is evidenced by figures requested by Flemish MP Annabel Tavernier (N-VA) from Social Welfare Minister Wouter Beke (CD&V). Twelve of the thirteen complaints reached the Flemish Language Complaint Hotline at Brussels Hospitals, which has been around since 2010 for this type of report. One complaint was received via the Directory of Flemish Language Law website.

Five of the thirteen complaints were about poor Dutch people with the emergency service or a mobile emergency group (MUG). They are legally required to provide bilingual services. Five other complaints were about hospitalization. In six cases, medical treatment was not (also) possible in Dutch.

According to Flemish MP Tavernier, the number of complaints is much higher than in recent years. “The average annual number in 2015-2020 was six complaints,” Tavernier says. “Although it is good that more and more Flemish people are simply not accepting gross violations of their language rights, it is of course difficult that Dutch language services in emergency services are still not guaranteed. Anyone in contact with a caregiver in Brussels knows that the numbers are A piece of cake from the actual number of violations.”

She asks Minister Beck to raise awareness of the Flemish hotline. She asked politicians in Brussels to “finally work on a full bilingual service in the Brussels emergency services”.

eight hospitals

The complaints concern eight different hospitals: Saint Elisabeth Hospital in Uccle, Saint John’s Clinic (2), UVC Brugmann (2), Erasmus Hospital, Saint-Luc University Hospital (2), Iris South Hospital, and Sint. Peter Hospital and Mozart Outpatient Clinic. One of the complaints was about the ambulance service. A final complaint regarding the 1710 helpline. This is for residents of Brussels without a GP.

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