Organisation of General Physicians of Curacao
On this page you will find information about our medical care here in Curacao. After having read this page you will know what to do when you need a doctor, which doctor to call during nightly hours/ weekend and more.
Organisation of medical care in Curacao:
General Physician (GP): the first line of care
Our healthcare system is organised around the general physician (GP). This means that you will have to contact a GP when you have a health-problem. The GP will be capable of diagnosing and treating most of your health-problems.
Only when the GP concludes that you need advanced diagnostic testing or treatment he/she will attend you to other medical specialists and/or hospitals.
Accessibility The GP’s of Curacao are accessible during office hours and –only for urgent health problems- at night and in weekends. During evening, night and weekends you will have to call the GP who is located closest by (Click here for a list of GP-centres and their phone numbers). The answer machine will inform you about which GP is on call and then you contact this doctor. If you stay at a hotel/resort than the staff will normally be able to help you out with the GP nearest by.
Language: almost all GP’s speak English. Most of them speak also Spanish. Native languages are Dutch and Papiamentu.
Service The GP’s of Curacao will provide you with all the necessary care and will guide you through our medical system. Our standards and protocols are mostly European (and/or American) based. One can consult the GP by phone, at the office (open consultation or appointment). The GP will –if your situation requires so- do a house call.
Information It will help the local health-care workers if you bring along a list of all your medical conditions (eg diseases and allergies) and medication you are currently using. Your own doctor at home can provide this.
Medicine Most medicines are available on Curacao. Best is of course to bring your own supply. Our local pharmacies are being called: Botika’s. Click here for list. Their opening hours: Monday –Saturday 08.00-19.00
At night and in weekend only two (2) pharmacies are on duty: Click here for the Pharmacy on duty.
Most medicines and especially antibiotics are not over-the-counter products on Curacao; you will need a prescription from a local doctor. This is due to our policy against misuse of medicine and against antibiotic-resistance.
Costs For the GP-rates see tarieven (in naf). For re-imbursement: ask for receipts after your consult at the doctor and at the pharmacy.
Special situations If you have questions about special medicines, availability of certain diagnostic test or treatments in advance of your stay here, you can always contact us (see contact) or contact the staff of your hotel/resort. Laboratory- and radiologic testing as well as monitoring your ‘blood thickness’ (INR) via a special lab-ward are available and accessible.
Hospitals: second and third line of care Curacao has several hospitals of which the St Elisabeth Hospital is the largest. It has an ER, IC, CCU, NICU, several OR’s, an oncological ward and of course the normal wards and facilities. Our St Elisabeth Hospital is equipped with a Cat-lab which performs coronary catheterisation and stenting around the clock. Pacemakers can be implanted. Curacao has a no thoracic surgery care unit.
These smaller hospitals are only accessible with a referral of the GP. They do not have an ER.
Diving: St Elisabeth Hospital is equipped with a decompression chamber.
Tropical Diseases Luckily Curacao lacks most of the tropical infections. Malaria is not endemic. Only in the cooler season (October- December) when the mosquito-population slowly increases a bit because of increase of precipitation, Denque-fever might occur. At Curacao, Denque-fever is almost always a self-limiting disease. Protection against the mosquito (long sleeves, DEET-spraying) can prevent you from getting infected.
- Protect yourself against sunburn and dehydration. Wear a hat and sunglasses, apply sun protective cream repeatedly during the day and see that you drink enough water/fluids (eg 2 litres over the day). Carry a bottle with water/fluid with you when you make a trip.
- Be aware that alcohol dehydrates and might lower your blood pressure.
- Never drink alcohol when you still need to drive.
- Our traffic might be a bit chaotic. Signs are not always very clear. Drive safely and plan your trip before you start it.
- When you use medicine or have a special condition or allergy; carry a list or medical alert bracelet/necklace.