Primary care centres* (known as maisons médicales in the Walloon and Brussels-Capital Regions and as wijkgezondheidscentra in the Flemish Region) aim to meet patients' needs by offering qualitative, accessible and continuous primary care.

They usually house several individual healthcare providers* (general practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, etc.) under one roof. These professionals form part of what is commonly known as the "primary care" network and work in a multidisciplinary fashion.

The ‘maisons médicales’ and the ‘wijkgezondheidscentra’ receive, generally speaking, a fixed per capita payment from the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (INAMI-RIZIV). So, in Belgium, general medical care is funded by two different systems: the consultation fees patients pay and a fixed per capita payment for the patients who have registered with these service providers.

In concrete terms, in contrast to physicians, who work on a fee-for-service basis, the majority of primary care centres will demand that patients also register with them.

Further information about the primary care centres in Brussels and Wallonia can be found on:
- The website of the Fédération des maisons médicales (Federation of primary care centres)
- The website of the Vereniging van Wijkgezondheidscentra (Association of Community Health Centres) which lists all the primary care centres in Flanders.

Types of facilities

The Brussels primary care centres are governed by the Decree of 5 March 2009 concerning the provision of outpatient care in the areas of social work, family and health (M.B., Belgian State Gazette of 08.05.2009).

In Wallonia, they are governed by the Social Work and Health Code of 29 September 2009 on integrated healthcare associations, which these primary care centres form part of.

French Community Commission (COCOF):

The Primary care centres
The Primary care centres are ambulatory services providing primary health care from a broad, psychological and social perspective, considering the patient as someone with a personal history within a context of a family, professional and socio-economic environment. This comprehensive care consist of the prevention that may be organised either during individual contacts, either during actions that are performed among a specific section of the population. Follow-up care is provided for while ensuring the outline, control and follow-up of information as regards the health problems the patient suffers from during admission.
Centres for family planning
The Centres for family planning are extramural ambulatory services established to welcome, inform and guide persons, couples and families in the context of their affective and sex life, in the form of medical (contraception, follow-up of pregnancies...), psychological, social and legal consultations.

Standards and recognition

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The Primary care centres and centres for family planning are authorized by the French Community Commission. The authorization is given on the basis of general and specific standards as defined in the decree of 5 March 2009 and its decree of application of 4 June 2009.

Quality of care and patient safety

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The Primary care centres and Centres for family planning are accessible for everyone, without any discrimination in the sense of the decree of the French Community Commission of 9 July 2010 against certain forms of discrimination and the application of the equal treatment principle.
Both centres respect the deontological rules and the duty of professional confidentiality which are in force in the sector and it guarantees the confidentiality in the organisation of the premises.

Monitoring and evaluation

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The standards are controlled by the administration of the French Community Commission.
The Medical homes and Centres for family planning take initiatives for qualitative evaluation.

* See glossary