Tuesday 13 March 2012

The Medical Desert

Apparently we are very lucky in Preuilly - we have un médicin généraliste (a GP) with a surgery in town. He does house calls in the morning and surgery in the afternoon. You used to be able to just turn up in the afternoon between 14.00 and 16.00 or make an appointment if you wanted to see him after 4pm, but now you have to make an appointment whenever you want to see him. The surgery used to be closed on Thursdays but now he has a female locum who runs the surgery on his day off.

Reserved parking spot for the GP in Preuilly, opposite the surgery.
According to the local newspaper, the Renaissance Lochoise of Wednesday 7 to Tuesday 13 March 2012, GPs are getting older (43% of GPs in France are 55 years old or over), and young practitioners fewer and anyway they want to work in the big cities and prefer to be salaried rather than self-employed. The paper says that if you are going to get sick, try to do it in the Ile de France (the Paris region) or PACA (Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azure region) and definitely not in Picardie or Centre (that's where we are). PACA has 370 GPs per hundred thousand of population compared to Centre's 242 GPs. The national average is 306 GPs per hundred thousand people.

The Conseil général d'Indre et Loire is worried. We are a very rural département and this exacerbates the problem, especially in the Touraine du Sud (that's where we are!) It's all very well promising universal healthcare to all regardless of financial circumstances, but we have to be able to provide it geographically as well, says the remarkably aptly named president of the Conseil général, Marisol Touraine.

The solution the Conseil is working on is to establish a number of new multi-disciplinary health centres in Saint-Flovier, Descartes, Villeloin-Coulangé, Genillé and Ligueil. The doctors who come to work in these new centres will be employed by the local communes (municipalities). One of the possible models, at Le Véron / Avoine, cost 2.24 million euros to set up (funded by the government at national, regional, departmental and municipal levels) and employs 22 medical professionals, including 6 GPs, 3 dentists, 6 nurses and 2 physiotherapists.



Ken Broadhurst said...

Our dentist retired a year or two ago. That left two in practice, one of whom won't take any new clients. I just went to see the other one. I'm glad she's there.

One of the doctors in the medical building where our doctor works also recently retired. As far as I know, our doctor is doing double duty trying to treat all his own patients plus the patients who used to see the man who retired.

This is becoming a big problem as you say.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Not sure of the facts but our health centre in Richelieu opened last September. It houses GP's and Dentists. The doctor I saw was one of the instigators and if you saw him in the street you would say he was a rock musician rather than a GP, age 40 perhaps.

Susan said...

Ken: We have a husband and wife Harley riding pair of dentists in Preuilly.

C&E: Our GP is in his 40s too, so the younger doctor's exist. I assume if it is a health centre the staff are salaried - that seems to be the way to go.

Abbeysmum said...

Back here in Toowoomba you have to normaly wait 3 days to get an appointment with the popular well established doctors...unless you are a long term patient and have an urgent problem.
You can of course, get to see any number of other doctors same day,but that's a bit of a lucky dip !

Autolycus said...

I think the model of larger-scale primary health centres employing or providing shared premises for a wider range of services is increasingly common, certainly in the UK. It works very well where I am in London, but for rural communities it must mean ever more concentration of services in bigger towns and more travel for patients, I suppose.

Post a Comment