The UFC-Que Choisir association has filed an appeal before the Council of State to denounce the government’s “inaction” in the face of growing inequalities in access to care and to urge it to act, it announced on Tuesday. unveiling a study on the “dramatic worsening” of medical demographics. “After years of negotiations with political decision-makers which remain unanswered, the UFC-Que Choisir today appeals to the Council of State to have the guilty government inaction noted and punished” and “defend the constitutional right to health” , writes the association in a press release.
She denounces in particular “the stubborn refusal of the authorities to regulate the installation of doctors”, and invites the French to sign and “massively share” a petition, entitled “I accuse the State”.
Around 10 a.m., around ten members of the UFC Que Choisir gathered silently in front of the Ministry of Health, brandishing signs and hanging construction tape around them, to symbolize the “impossible access” to care.
“We will have succeeded when all French people have access to a doctor, both geographically and in financial terms (…) when the regulation of the installation will no longer be taboo » and “that we will regulate excess fees”, summarized the president of the association, Marie-Amandine Stevenin.
General practitioners, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians: UFC-Que Choisir has updated its interactive map of inequalities in access to “direct access” doctors, developed in 2022 based on public data and scientific literature. “Unsurprisingly, medical desertification is increasing, due to increasing needs” and a “wave of retirements,” she observes.
The study crosses two criteria: the geographical distance of doctors – “deserts” being characterized by a density 60% lower than the average for specialists located less than 45 minutes by road, or 30 minutes for general practitioners – and the prices charged.
Thus, 19.3% of French people reside in a medical desert for ophthalmology24.8% of women in a gynecological medical desert and 28.9% of children in a pediatric medical desert, analyzes the UFC.
By excluding practitioners who overcharge their fees, “the situation becomes absolutely catastrophic”: more than one child in two lives in a place deserted by pediatricians, 59.3% of French people in a medical desert for ophthalmologists, and 69.6% of women for gynecologists, deplores the UFC.
General practitioners are better distributed, with 2.6% of patients classified as medical desert, or 1.7 million people, to which the association adds 21% of patients with “difficult access” (density at least 30% lower than the average). Between 2021 and 2023, 44.4% of the population “saw accessibility to general practitioners deteriorate”.
Volunteers anonymously contacted 2642 general practitioners to ask them if they would agree to follow them as their attending physician. The majority (51.5%) refused, compared to 44% during a previous survey in 2019. Most were already following too many patients (74%), or were soon to retire (12%).
The association also contacted 761 ophthalmologists, 28% of whom refused to schedule an appointment, the majority offering very long deadlines, 65 days on average.