A French MP has put forward a bill which would enable patients to access physiotherapist and other appointments without first needing a prescription from a doctor to avoid paying more.
The bill has been proposed by Loiret MP Stéphanie Rist in response to calls from physiotherapists to simplify the process patients must undertake to secure an appointment.
“We will see a patient, we will evaluate the seriousness” of their complaint, physiotherapist and member of the SNMKR union Morgan Colas told Franceinfo.
“If there are signs of a problem that make us think that we cannot see them straightaway, we will send them to a doctor.”
However, doctors have expressed concern over the idea that people will be able to bypass them and go straight to professionals such as physiotherapists or speech therapists.
Seine-Saint-Denis doctor Yohann Saynac has suggested that this could cause confusion, saying “we wouldn’t know who was doing what”.
This would provoke “a significant loss of information and that puts the quality of care at risk.”
Ms Rist has stated that a physiotherapist, for example, would have to send their notes to the patient’s GP so that they were up to date with their treatments.
What are the rules at the moment?
You can consult a health specialist without first seeing a GP in France but it could – depending on the type of specialist and your insurance coverage – cost you more.
The process is usually as follows:
You have an illness or an injury, say, for example, you have injured your knee. You should normally go to see your designated GP (médecin traitant).
Your GP will note your knee injury and then may send you to a specialist, such as a physiotherapist. In this way you will be considered to be on the ‘coordinated healthcare pathway’ (parcours de soins coordonnés).
Being on a parcours de soins coordonnés means better state reimbursement rates for treatment.