YOU MAY struggle to get a doctor’s appointment over the Christmas period after one of the leading GPs’ unions called a strike for December 24-31.
Unof-CSMF is protesting over planned reforms in a new health bill which they say will harm the profession, such as stopping up-front patient payments. They are also unhappy about other matters such as the fact that their €23 consultation fee has not changed since 2011.
In a statement, the union said that it was all “just too much”, doctors were “exasperated” and “it’s the essentials of the job that are being undermined”.
Their grievances include:
• The planned roll-out of le tiers payant a system whereby patients have nothing to pay upfront and doctors must be refunded by local health bodies and by one of several hundred different top-up mutuelles. Unof-CSMY says “it will cost the state nothing but will mean an unavoidable extra time spent on administration, and will put surgeries at risk due to the inevitable payment delays”.
• A proposal that pharmacists could give vaccine jabs. Unof president Luc Duquesnel has called this a move towards “low-cost” medicine which was “pulling our profession apart”. Vaccinations should be doctor-prescribed so they can check on any incompatibility with the patient’s conditions and medications, he said.
• GPs’ fees that they say are the lowest in comparable western democracies, which “is becoming humiliating”.
Another large union, MG France, is calling for protests on January 6, also demanding a rise in the fees.
Patients of surgeries that close over Christmas needing urgent care will have to make use of out-of-hours services as at evenings and weekends.
A new updated version of Connexion’s guide to the French healthcare system is now available, either for download, priced at €7.50 or as a printed version (plus P&P). It features the recent EHIC and S1 changes.
The guide also covers:
*DOCTORS / DENTISTS / OPTICIANS / CHEMISTS / HOSPITALS
*CARTE VITALE / S1 / EHIC
*HOW INSURANCE WORKS
*WHAT IS COVERED
*HOW TO CLAIM