French groups call on government to implement essential health reforms

By staff writers

June 17, 2022 -- France's union of private radiologists, Fédération nationale des médecins radiologues (FNMR), along with all other private doctor unions, has for the first time addressed the French population directly to join them in lobbying the government for action over difficulties accessing services in certain regions and the lack of lasting solutions in healthcare.

In an open letter published on the FNMR website on Thursday, the unions state that a lack of doctors and nursing staff and increasing incidence of emergency healthcare requires swift action, even with temporary measures. They underline how public policies over the past 40 years have led to a reduction in the number of doctors and nurses in training. Even if over the past 10 years the number of trained doctors has increased, this is not enough to meet a growing and increasingly complex demand for care, the open letter to the French nation states.

The unions point out that being a private doctor means working an average of 54 hours a week, 44 hours of which are devoted to care, and participating in on-duty night shifts for outpatients which are provided in 95% of territories and weekends for 96% of them. They state that private centers are financially under pressure, and the entire medical profession is exhausted.

"To suggest that the responsibility for the difficulties of access to care is the fault of private doctors is false and irresponsible. In our view, it is urgent to define a new social contract that cannot only concern liberal medicine," the unions stated in their letter to the nation. "Urgent decisions must be taken in order to respond to the emergency crisis this summer. Major reforms must be carried out to restore French medicine's agility, allowing each and every one of us medical care based on the freedom of choice of doctor, better accessibility, quality of care and a policy of much more active prevention. This is how we will renovate our health system. This is how France will once again become the country where life expectancy in good health is the best in the world," they said.

Meanwhile, the unions will pursue dialogue with hospital doctors, other health professions, and user associations so that their proposals are heard, while calling on the French president to give the population the means to access 21st-century medicine that meets its needs, the statement concluded.

Editor's note: To read the original open letter published in French online by the FNMR on 16 June 2022, go to the FNMR website.

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