Going to the doctor in France is set to become more expensive.
The price of seeing a GP will increase from €25 to €26.50 and consulting a specialist will rise by the same amount to €31.50.
How much you pay will depend on your situation. The majority of the cost is normally covered by social security, with the rest covered by your mutuelle - private, top-up health insurance - if you have one.
The announcement was made as part of the arbitration settlement drafted after the failure of the doctors union Syndicat des médecins libéraux to negotiate new prices with France’s social security organisation, Assurance maladie.
Some union members wanted to see prices increased up to €50 for an appointment.
The new minimum prices are – in theory – fixed for five years. But this will depend on whether the union relaunches negotiations.
All consultation fees increase
The changes still have to be accepted by the government, and there is a six-month waiting time before they can be implemented – meaning fees will not change before the end of October, at the earliest.
Across the board, medical consultation fees were increased by €1.50, including for paediatricians, psychologists, and other types of specialists.
As the French state’s Assurance maladie refunds a large percentage of consultation costs, the changes are expected to cost the system around €600 million annually.
Some other changes included in the settlement will be deployed immediately, mostly surrounding pay increases for medical professionals.
Doctors seeing a patient with a chronic illness who does not have access to a GP will now be paid €60 for the first consultation, instead of €25.
A doctor who sees a patient not usually under their care in an emergency will be paid an additional €15 for the consultation – and they can do this up to twenty times per week.
Currently, 700,000 chronically ill patients do not have access to a GP, but the government has promised they will be offered one before the end of the year.
Also included with immediate effect are efforts to help the government’s pledge to hire 10,000 medical assistants – to help with administrative duties – before the end of 2024. As of this month, only 4,300 have been hired.
The settlement does not include territorial commitment changes, which would have seen doctors sent to areas with low medical coverage – medical deserts – for a fixed amount of time as part of their work.