Christine Delavaux will have to close her practice for two weeks in August. A first in twenty-five years of activity for the Parisian general practitioner, who is approaching retirement. “It is very difficult for me to leave my patients, especially since some are very old – up to 106 years! – and need home consultations, she blurted out. I hope that the local offices will be able to respond to their urgent requests… ”
Installed in the 20e arrondissement of the capital with two colleagues, she moved heaven and earth to find a replacement doctor for this summer period. In vain. Impossible to compensate for the departure of his usual replacement, left to exercise elsewhere in France.
In recent weeks, concern has been mounting in several offices: to hear doctors and unions, while leave is fast approaching, finding a replacement has turned into a puzzle this year. It’s not a new problem. “Medical demography has been in crisis for years: there are fewer and fewer doctors, points out Dr Jean-Paul Ortiz, president of the Confederation of French medical unions. In the most deserted areas, some have long since given up on finding a replacement for the summer. ” But this year promises to be tougher.
Alice Perrain, general practitioner in Indre-et-Loire, had to resign herself to shortening her leave. Despite all the classified ads posted on different recruitment sites, the five doctors at his nursing home could only find two replacements for the summer, against four usually.
Result: everyone cut back on their holidays to manage to stay open during the most complicated period, between July 15 and August 30. “We are doing our best so that our patients do not find themselves in difficulty, but with these reduced numbers, if there are too many requests, it will be necessary to prioritize patients and postpone the least urgent appointments to the start of the school year”, recognizes Alice Perrain. Which already promises a busy month of September.
“Need to breathe”
Other adjustments are taking place on the ground. ” There is no magic solution », Says Jacques Battistoni, head of MG France, the main union among general practitioners. “Doctors organize themselves so as not to go on vacation at the same time and guarantee the care of patients in the region., he explains. Sometimes substitutes prepare to welcome patients from more than one practice. “
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