Letters: patients face six-month wait to see doctor in parts of France

Connexion reader says that nobody seems to be tackling the problem of medical deserts

Up to 8 million people in France are affected by ‘medical deserts’ and do not have regular or easy access to a GP

To the Editor,

Your online article ‘How does your area of France fare for delay to see a doctor?’ does not mention Corrèze, where I live, as being one of the worst affected. 

From personal experience I can tell you that for three hospital appointments over the past six months (and I am in largely good health) I have had to wait four, five months and six months respectively.

In comparison, my Palestinian wife worked in hospitals in Nazareth and surrounding areas of Israel and assured me that waiting times for a hospital appointment there were four to six weeks.

France's aging doctors

I recall another recent article in The Connexion reporting research by the Council of Rural Mayors in France. Based on 2020 data, it revealed that over half of doctors in France were aged 55 or older. 

This suggests that five years from now over half of doctors currently practising will have retired, plunging France’s healthcare services into grave problems. France has an ageing population who will soon be without the medical care they need.

Read more: How to see a doctor if you cannot sign up with GP in France

As far as I can tell nobody seems to be tackling this problem.

A new man is taking over management of the four hospitals in Corrèze from May and I have written to him suggesting he put together a team of recently retired doctors, along with current trainee doctors to persuade teenagers that becoming a doctor is a good career and worth the long training. 

They must also persuade parents that supporting their children over years of medical study will be worth it in the end.

Can The Connexion start drumming up support for this idea to be pursued more widely in France? Otherwise the country is sleepwalking towards medical disaster. If readers have other ideas of how we might recruit more medical trainees, please share them.

Richard Morris, Corrèze

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