The task of the Committee on Population Screening is twofold: to identify developments in population screening and assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act.

Identifying developments

Considerable attention is given to the early detection of diseases and research into risk factors. Scientific developments are occurring at a rapid rate. This has consequences for existing screening programmes and can provide opportunities for new ones. The Health Council of the Netherlands monitors these developments and their potential consequences (in the nature of the advisory report Screening: between hope and hype) and reports on them. Activities in this context can range from monitoring developments in the area of screening tests to reporting on ethical issues.

Assessing permit applications

The Health Council of the Netherlands has a statutory duty to assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport decides on such applications. The Population Screening Act was put into effect on July First 1996 and is intended to protect people from population screening studies that could pose a risk to health. The Population Screening Act provides for a permit system for population screening involving the use of ionising radiation, concerning cancer or concerning serious diseases or abnormalities for which no treatment is possible. Permit applications can concern a national population screening program or changes therein, or scientific research in a population screening that may or may not be nationally implememnted.

This activity is a permanent part of the Prevention focus area.


  • Prof. dr. J. Gussekloo, Professor in General Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, chairperson
  • Prof. dr. G.J. van der Wilt, Professor in Health Technology Assessment, Radboud university medical centre, Nijmegen, vice chairperson
  • Dr. E.M.M. Adang, Health Economist, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Prof. dr. M.C. Cornel, Professor of Community Genetics and Public Health Genomics, VU Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam
  • Prof. dr. O.M. Dekkers, Professor in Clinical Epidemiology; Specialist in Internal Medicine, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden
  • Dr. W.J. Dondorp, Ethicist, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht
  • Dr. mr. Y. Drewes, Physician, Coordinator Master Vitality and Ageing, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden
  • Dr. P.J.M. Elders, Assistant Professor, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VUmc, Amsterdam
  • Prof. dr. C.H. van Gils, Professor Clinical Epidemiology of Cancer at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht
  • Prof. dr. I.M. van Langen, Professor in Clinical Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen
  • Prof. dr. B.J.C. Middelkoop, Professor in Public Health, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden
  • Mr. dr. M.C. Ploem, Lecturer of Health Law, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Dr. J.J. van Tol-Geerdink, Researcher Shared Decision Making in Oncology, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Mr. M.G. Kleefkens, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, observer
  • R. van Tol, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, observer
  • Dr. J.D. van der Berg, The Hague, scientific secretary
  • Mr. dr. R.E. van Hellemondt, The Hague, scientific secretary
  • Dr. L.G.M. van Rossum, Health Council, The Hague, scientific secretary