Virtually all reports produced by the inspectorate are made public further to the national Freedom of Information Act (Wet openbaarheid van bestuur, WOB). The reports can therefore be accessed by anyone who wishes to consult them.
In the case of reports concerning specific healthcare institutions, there is no statutory obligation to publish, but the inspectorate will generally do so in accordance with its policy of ‘proactive publication’.
‘Proactive publication’ simply means that the Inspectorate does not wait until it is asked for information about a healthcare institution, but makes its inspection reports available on the website as soon as they have been finalized. This policy has been in place since 1 July 2008 and applies to the inspection reports for health care institutions in many sectors. Each report remains on the Inspectorate’s website for a period of three years.
Not all reports concerning incidents, accidents or unacceptable situations within health care institutions are made public. The inspectorate will nevertheless publish such documents where there is significant political or public interest. Inspection reports relating to individual health care providers, or those which concern events which are subject to criminal or disciplinary proceedings, are not ‘proactively’ published.
The Inspectorate has three reasons for publishing its reports on health care institutions:
- To maintain compliance: publication encourages all health care institutions to devote attention to the quality of care, and motivates those which are not currently performing as well as they might to make improvements.
- To inform patients, health insurers and other stakeholders: good information regarding the quality of care assists them in making an informed choice, which is particularly important now that greater competition has been introduced to the health care sector.
- To contribute to the transparency of government: the Inspectorate wishes to provide clear information about its methods and the manner in which it arrives at its conclusions about the quality of care.