Sick patients in France lacking GP to be contacted before summer, minister says
The French minister of health promised that chronically ill patients who aren't registered with a doctor will be contacted by the summer.
Published: 31 January 2023 11:00 CET
François Braun, France’s Health Minister, said on Monday that all chronically ill patients without a general practitioner will be contacted before the month of June with “concrete solutions”.
There is a general shortage of medécins généraliste (GPs or family doctors) in France, with some areas classed as ‘medical deserts’ where people find it almost impossible to register with a doctor.
The health minister said that people without access to primary care doctors are “deprived of a regular follow-up” and that this is “no longer acceptable” for those with chronic illnesses. These groups will be contacted via Assurance Maladie before the summer, he added.
Braun’s statements came a few weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech to healthcare workers outlining the ways he is seeking to overhaul the health system in the country.
In his speech, the president promised that the “600,000 patients in France who suffer from a chronic disease would be offered a primary care doctor – or at least a ‘reference team’ – by the end of the year.”
Macron also discussed plans establish a “Conseil national de la refondation (CNR – or National Council for Reconstruction)” to build a “roadmap” for solutions in the fight against medical deserts.
Approximately six million French people are estimated to lack a primary care doctor, and 600,000 of those people suffer from long-term diseases, according to Franceinfo.
This issue is aggravated by the fact that almost a third of French people live in medical deserts – or geographical zones where healthcare providers and general practitioners are severely lacking compared to the rest of the country. Generally, this refers to healthcare in the community such as GPs or family doctors, dentists or community nurses, rather than hospitals.
Medical desertification mainly affects rural areas with an ageing population – though they’re also developing in some towns and cities (including some Paris suburbs) as retiring doctors are not replaced and younger medics establish themselves in more dynamic zones, both in terms of economy and activities.
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