Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doctor numbers decline in France

  To be a doctor is a noble occupation and we should look over at France as that is what our health care in America will be looking like if we do not repeal Obamacare.  There is a shortage of doctors in France for the first time in 25 years.

"I think we will see a decrease in numbers every year for the next eight to ten years with the decreases getting bigger and bigger."

The problem is set to get worse as doctors get older and fewer young doctors go into general practice or work in less populated and lucrative parts of France. Doctors are becoming increasingly scarce in less favoured areas, especially in the north.

Doctors aged over 50 have increased by 53% compared to last year. The average age for French doctors is now 51 and for GPs it is 55. Doctors aged under 40 are down 12%.

Dr Romestaing said the problem was partly due to a drop in medical student numbers from the late 1980s through the 1990s which is still having a knock-on effect, even though numbers have started to rise again. Students passing into the crucial second year were at 8,500 in 1971 but dropped to 3,500 in the 1990s (they are now back to 7,000).

"The bigger problem though is they do not want to set up as GPs," said Dr Romestaing.

"They would rather take salaried jobs in hospitals or work as school or workplace doctors. Only one in ten qualifying are becoming GPs.

"During their studies students get used to hospital work and they are afraid to set up in general practice so stay on in hospital work. Others, about three out of ten, choose to be supply doctors.

"These other options seem less risky to them. GPs work long hours - 50, 60 hours a week. In salaried jobs you do less hours and you have fewer responsibilities.

"Also GPs have to do night duty and have more and more regulations to deal with."

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