ALMOST everyone in France has a GP within a quarter of an hour’s drive of their home, a study shows.
The figure sheds a more positive light on the healthcare picture in France, with the problem of “medical deserts” (lack of sufficient doctors) in certain regions often being flagged up.
However, despite most people having a GP nearby, only 56% of people choose to go to the nearest one and less than 20% choose the nearest doctor when it comes to specialists.
This could be for several reasons, eg. people go to a doctor who is nearer to work than home or they choose them according to reputation or how well-equipped they are.
It is also likely that some people avoid doctors who charge over the standard amounts (ie. 41% of specialists).
The figure of a quarter of an hour was also found to apply to nurses and physiotherapists.
Nonetheless the report, by national statistics body Insee, pointed out that some areas had too many people per doctor – a factor that is only likely to get worse because of the aging population of doctors. Latest figures from the Ordre des Médecins show that 43% are aged over 55.