Striking French GPs call for increase in consultation fee to €50

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 27 Dec, 2022 Updated Tue 27 Dec 2022 14:18 CEST
Striking French GPs call for increase in consultation fee to €50
A general practitioner checks a patient's blood pressure on May 21, 2015 in Quimper, western France. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

The consultation fee to see a GP or family doctor in France could rise from €25 to €50 - if doctors get their way after staging a strike this week.


The renewed strike action, which began on December 26th, is set to run until January 2nd. It comes almost a month after primary care physicians walked out on December 1st and 2nd, which involved approximately 30 percent of general practitioners across the country, according to Franceinfo.

Doctors on strike are calling for administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee - typically capped to €25 - to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.

Although GPs are self-employed, the government sets the scale of fees that they can charge, including the basic €25 for a consultation.

Explained: How France's healthcare system works 


As fewer people choose to become primary care physicians, striking GPs are hoping that pushing for an increase in consultation fees will help to make the field more appealing. 

Antoine Soubieux, a general practitioner in Indre-et-Loire and union representative told France 3 that the goal is not for doctors to "put everything in their pocket." Instead, Soubieux explained that the profits generated would allow doctors to invest in the hiring of medical secretaries to help relieve them of cumbersome administrative tasks which take away their time with patients. 

Christèle Audigier, a general practitioner near Lyon, told Europe 1 that with an increased consultation fee, the doctor would then be able to give approximately 20 to 25 percent of their work time spent doing administrative tasks - or "10 to 15 hours per week" to an administrative assistant.

While not all primary care physicians will take part in the strike, patients can expect the industrial action to be well-supported across the country throughout the week. This strike sets itself apart from other industrial movements involving healthcare workers, particularly those who are frontline staff, as they typically involve demonstrations and wearing armbands announcing they are striking, while continuing to go into work.

This time, like the strike action from December 1st and 2nd, participating general practitioners will close the doors to their practices on the strike days – patients will still be able to access urgent care either through hospitals or the SOS Medecins service.

The walkouts also come as French healthcare workers struggle to cope with a "triple epidemic" of Covid-19, bronchiolitis and influenza.

READ MORE: Paxlovid and vaccines: The latest Covid advice from the French government

Some specialists also announced plans to strike, with the organisation "Doctors for Tomorrow" also hoping to encourage an increase in consultations for specialists as well. Noelle Cariclet, a psychiatrist in the Paris region told Franceinfo that some specialties - like psychiatry, child psychiatry, pediatrics and endocrinology - are becoming rare in France because they are seen as unattractive.

Cariclet said that these specialties are particularly undervalued because the price of a consultation has "not increased for over 20 years."




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