Objective: General Practitioners (GPs) have an important role in the Dutch system of external post-mortem examination (E-PM). They perform at
least 50% of the E-PMs. This research aims to study the competence of the GPs in the Netherlands in performing E-PMs. To achieve this, a survey
was performed amongst GPs. The study analysed if GPs felt competent to perform E-PMs, if they had knowledge of and acted according to the
Dutch Burial Act and if they were consistent in their acts and thoughts.
Methods: An online survey conducted amongst GPs resulted in 225 datasets, after excluding 36 surveys for various reasons.
Results: There was no significant difference in the feeling of competence between GPs (79.47%) and GP registrars (86.49%). Of all the respondents
40.89% were consistent in their acts and thoughts on the matter of E-PMs and 33.78% of respondents scored a 100% on legal knowledge? Of all
the respondents that felt competent 47.28% showed inconsistency in acts and thoughts as well as lack of legal knowledge.
Conclusion: Although every physician in the Netherlands is qualified to perform E-PMs, this research shows this does not automatically imply
they are competent to do so. The inconsistency in acts and thoughts and/or the lack of legal knowledge in the matter of E-PMs undermines the
current Dutch system of death investigations.