Struggling French healthcare services to get massive makeover

Published:  19 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, Study Abroad
If you’re thinking to retire as an expat in France, you should note a major overhaul of its struggling healthcare system is on the way.

Once voted the best in the world in a report from the World Health Organisation, the French healthcare system is now struggling to stay afloat, with the government committed to a major overhaul. Perhaps its major problem lies in its emergency services, with casualty departments and emergency wards overcrowded due to a huge increase in patient numbers. Angry patients and overworked staff do not a happy hospital make, and several French regions are medical deserts without hospitals or doctors. For retired expatriates, access to medical help when necessary is essential, especially in cases of emergency.

Last week, President Macron presented his government’s plans for improving the struggling system, beginning with an investment of €3.4 billion to be fully introduced by 2022, just under one billion of which will be aimed at hospitals. A further €1.6 billion will be spent on structuring medical care in rural regions, €420 million will be aimed at training programmes, €500 million is to provide a ‘digital transformation’ and a further €920 million will go to hospital investment.

The first priority will be to encourage 400 GPs to move to regions where there is little or no provision of local doctors. Salaried GPs will be paid via local health centres and hospitals, with a pioneering study in the rural Saone-et-Loire region proved a success. The introduction of medical assistants to doctors is expected to lighten the timescale burden of GPs, as they’ll undertake basic health tasks as well as taking care of admin duties. The move is expected to free up 25 per cent more time for medical professionals dealing with an increased number of patients.

Online booking of appointments is expected to be rolled out nationwide as part of the plan, and more encouragement will be given to students interested in becoming medical professionals. As well as streamlining the system, the government is to introduce fixed price financing for diabetes and chronic kidney failure patients. This scheme will be expanded to take in other illnesses in 2020.
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