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Carte Vitale, prescriptions: Ten changes for health in France in 2023

We look at how the carte Vitale and prescriptions will go digital, the changing role of nurses and pharmacists and more

Carte Vitale app is expected to be introduced; pharmacies will offer vaccinations; nurses will get more responsibility Pic: Pixavril / pics five / Shutterstock

Medical check-ups at key life stages

Free medical check-ups are to be offered to all residents at 25, 45, and 65 to prevent common health problems developing as people age. 

At 25, this will include checking on vaccinations, exercise, addictions, and difficulties at the start of professional life. People will also be reminded of the need to have a GP. 

At 45, the doctor will focus on cancer-testing, especially in relation to breast, colon or prostate, as well as mental health. 

At 65, they will focus on autonomy and testing for cancers and preventable conditions. 

Retirement plans will be discussed.

Free contraception

The ‘morning after’ pill will be available free to all women without a prescription. 

This previously applied only to under-18s. 

People aged 18-25 will also be able to obtain free condoms at pharmacies.

Read more: France makes condoms free for people aged 18-25

Screening

Screening without prescription for STDs other than HIV is to be fully reimbursable for those aged under 26. 

An obligatory screening for newborns against sickle cell disease (drépanocytose) is also being put in place in a three-year trial. 

Intensive care beds

The government promises to add an extra 1,000 intensive care unit beds and increase the number of staff working in the units.

Vaccinations at pharmacy

Access to vaccinations is to be made easier, as pharmacists, nurses and midwives will be able to prescribe and administer them for other vaccines apart from flu and Covid (eg. diphtheria, tetanus and polio, hepatitis A and B).

Read more: Have you had all the vaccinations recommended by France? Check here

More responsibility for nurses

A trial will be run in parts of France into authorising nurses to sign off death certificates.

Also, in a three-year experiment, nurses with advanced qualifications will be allowed to take on patients directly, rather than having their care prescribed by a doctor, and the patient will be fully reimbursed.

Smoking

Tobacco prices will rise on average 50 centimes, as part of efforts to persuade people to give up.

Out-of-hours care

Nurses, midwives and dentists will be asked to give out-of-hours care in areas where there is a lack of doctors on call for evenings and weekends. 

Read more: How to find a doctor out of hours in France

Digital carte Vitale and prescriptions

A digital version of the carte Vitale health card is to be rolled out across France but no date for this has yet been set. The idea is currently being trialled in 12 departments. 

Known as the e-carte d’assurance maladie, it works via a smartphone app called appCV. It is an option and physical cards will continue.

Read more: What is a carte Vitale and why do I need one in France?

This year is also expected to see more use of ‘electronic prescriptions’ with prescriptions being stored in a digital format and linked to patients’ online medical records.

Disability help

People with mental disabilities will be eligible for up to three hours of help a day from a carer under prestation de compensation du handicap aid where they face issues with carrying out tasks in daily life.

Deaf-blind people can also have 30 to 80 hours of help a month.

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