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Loss of rural GP ‘puts lives at risk’

A Dordogne resident has lodged a complaint against the local prefect after his 94-year-old mother’s doctor retired and has not been replaced.

Francis Beausoleil says the state is “putting lives in danger” and “stopping equality of access to care for the vulnerable.”

The other doctor in Sigoulès cannot take new patients.

Mr Beausoleil says it is affecting elderly people’s ability to stay in their own homes.

“We’re being fobbed off with measures that will only have an effect in 2023-2024,” he said, adding that there is no national doctor shortage and that the state should do more to ensure doctors are better spread out.

The issue of “medical deserts” is a perennial problem and the recent launch of telemedicine –where internet-based GP sessions are now reimbursed – is aimed at helping.

Dr Jean-Paul Hamon, pres-ident of the private practice doctors’ body FMF, said it was the first time he had heard of a complaint against a prefecture.

He said the problems are due to 25 years of poor decisions by ministers. He added that 11,000 doctors are working on after retirement age and 90% of rural sole practitioners will not be replaced, so people cannot expect a doctor in every village.

It helps if several work together to serve a wider area. Nearby Saussignac mairie said there are plans for such a clinic in Sigoulès.

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