Lack of GPs affecting almost all of France

The government is dedicating €100 million a year to ‘transform’ healthcare. Oliver Rowland spoke to Dr Jean-Paul Hamon, leader of the Fédération des Médecins de France, who doubts it will make a difference. His members are médecins libéraux, that is GPs and specialist doctors in independent private practice

France has 216,000 ‘active’ doctors and a further 17,000 who combine taking a pension with part-time work. This compares to 237,000 doctors currently licensed in the UK.

Total numbers in France are stable but latest Ordre des Médecins figures show doctors unevenly spread around the country (see map).

The Ordre des Médecins has also flagged up concerns about declining numbers of GPs and notes a trend in recent years of more doctors choosing salaried posts as opposed to traditional private practice.

 

The government says it seeks to ‘transform’ the current system – are you impressed?

The government makes a lot of announcements but it’s been in power for eight months and we’ve not seen a lot of action. ‘Desertification’ of private practice doctors is spreading rapidly and we need extremely urgent measures but the government acts as though there’s plenty of time.

It’s frustrating. We asked for changes to medical studies so students in their last three years can have experience of private practice medicine and then be able to set up very quickly afterwards, but there’s been nothing – no experience, no new incentives, no measures to recruit extra placement supervisors to look after the students.

 

Is it due to students not wanting to work in the more rural and isolated areas?

No, the only place not affected, that has far more doctors than the rest of France, is Nice. All other areas are fragile or becoming fragile – Paris has lost 20% of its GPs in 10 years.

I am in Clamart [in the southwestern suburbs] and in this commune and two neighbouring ...

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