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From very specialist care through to basic care

For certain patients, UMCG is an ‘ordinary’ hospital. One of the 120 hospitals in the Netherlands, where anyone can attend for standard medical care. A large proportion of our patients however attend the UMCG for highly specialist care, care that cannot be provided in other hospitals. As the only university medical center in the Northern Netherlands, UMCG offers topflight clinical care and basic care to the more than three million people who live here. For a number of specific disorders, patients come to Groningen from throughout the Netherlands and beyond. We are for example the Netherlands’ largest transplant center and are amongst the few hospitals in the world capable of performing all forms of organ and tissue transplant. For other complex disorders, or simple disorders with severe complications, the UMCG is the place to be. We play a key role in health care in the Netherlands, in particular the Northern Netherlands. In the field of acute care, too, the UMCG has a special task: throughout the Northern Netherlands and part of northern Germany, we are the only top trauma center capable of offering the full chain of care, treatment and rehabilitation. With our trauma helicopter, the doctors and paramedic staff can be on site at any location in the Northern Netherlands and northern Germany, within thirty minutes.  

Topflight referred care

Topflight referred care is care than can only be offered at university medical centers. This for example relates to difficult, costly or uncommon forms of diagnosis and treatment. These forms of care demand very specialist knowledge.


Patients who attend the UMCG for topflight referred care often suffer multiple disorders, sometimes related and sometimes not. Or they may be suffering from a single disorder with multiple complications. For a sound diagnosis and treatment, it is therefore essential that numerous different specialists consult with one another. The diagnosis demands a great deal of knowledge and it is uncertain in advance how the patient should be treated. Because there are no further possibilities for topflight referred patients outside university medical centers, they are given priority over basic care patients who could if necessary be treated elsewhere.

Range of topflight referred care functions

All university medical centers and universities undertake research in different fields. As a result, all university medical centers have different topflight referred care functions. Examples of topflight referred care functions at the UMCG are: medical oncology, neuromodulation, glaucoma and glaucoma surgery.

Topflight clinical care

The UMCG offers forms of care unavailable at other hospitals. Topflight clinical care is care for which highly advanced equipment, very specialist facilities or very specific expertise are required and which as a consequence is also very expensive. Topflight clinical care is therefore only provided by hospitals that have been specially licensed for these forms of care by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. These hospitals need not necessarily be university medical centers. For topflight clinical care, patients attend the UMCG from far beyond our standard catchment area. Examples of such treatments are:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • Intensive Care for newborns (neonatal)
  • All forms of organ transplant
  • Children’s oncology center
  • Clinical genetics / hereditary information
  • Special neurosurgery 
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan)
  • Radiotherapy
  • Open heart operations / PTCA / Catheter ablation (angioplasty)
  • Center for Home Ventilation
  • Trauma center
  • Hemophilia treatment center
  • HIV treatment center


For us, care does not end at the hospital doors. Also following discharge, we continue to feel a shared responsibility. With that in mind, we collaborate closely with other hospitals in the region, with home care organisations, nursing and care homes. The UMCG even has its own home care organization that goes by the name umcGroningen Thuis. This organization employs a staff of nurses specialized in providing care to patients with specific disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, asthma and other lung disorders. The UMCG also collaborates intensively with the GPs in the region and regularly organizes in-service training courses, conferences and symposia. There has even been a GP practice based at the UMCG since 2004. The doctors who work here are employed by the hospital. As well as providing normal GP care, they are also involved in academic research. The GP practice helps to bring the work of the GP and the hospital closer together so that general practitioners and medical specialists are able to harmonize their work even better. The close collaboration with other hospitals in the region, with home care organizations, GPs and care institutions is important in ensuring the best possible patient care.

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