“Cash Investigation” investigates health inequalities


Inequalities in access to care remain a recurring issue, particularly in the area of ​​cancer. In his number broadcast Thursday January 13 on France 2, available online since January 7, “Cash Investigation” looked into this problem.

The two journalists Gabriel Garcia and Julien Beccu sifted through, according to a precise research protocol, millions of health data on cancer operations. These thousands of lines of code, transformed into the average number of operations carried out by each establishment between 2016 and 2018, will be made available on January 13 on the France Télévisions site.

One of the main surprises was to find that few institutions follow the recommendations of scientists to perform more than 150 procedures per year. More seriously, in 2018, 812 clinics and hospitals operated on cancers without state authorization, “irregularly” emphasizes Gabriel Garcia.

Risks of excess mortality

For Professor Fabien Reyal, a surgeon at the Institut Curie, it is “a real loss of opportunity for patients”. Because the scientific studies are formal: the less the surgical teams practice, the higher the risk of excess mortality. These data are therefore essential for transparency with regard to the patient and for his care.

It is then in the world of dialysis, this heavy treatment to compensate for kidney failure, that the documentary immerses us, with supporting testimonials. No less than 88,000 patients in France suffer from end-stage renal failure, including around 50,000 dialysis patients. The other possibility, the kidney transplant, “significantly improves life expectancy and quality of life, and also costs much less”, recalled a column published on the website of World on December 22, 2021.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “A revolution is needed for the fourth transplant plan”

But, surprisingly, some hospitals prefer dialysis to transplantation. The documentary follows a doctor who wears a hidden camera during his visit to a structure that dialyses a hundred patients every day… We discover how the doctor, by “monitoring” the patients on dialysis, gets paid for the consultation, which is supposed to last twenty-five minutes, 40 euros. The survey shows dysfunctions: doctors preferring dialysis rather than grafting, enormous cost for public finances, patients not informed… These drifts in the management of kidney failure have already been pointed out on several occasions, in particular in a report by the Court of Auditors in 2015.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Dialysis: “Transparency must become the rule”

Finally, this documentary tackles the question of medical deserts, which would concern eight million French people, a sea serpent for years… Which creates deep inequalities in access to care and health. A real subject for a presidential campaign under the influence of Covid-19…

Freedom, health, inequalities, by Gabriel Garcia and Julien Beccu (Fr., 2021, 104 min). On France.tv until January 20.

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