News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

French patients will have to go through family doctors to access specialists

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 27 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1278
  1. Brad Spurgeon
  1. Paris

    The health minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, last week unveiled the French government's plan to reorganise and streamline the country's healthcare system to reduce the €12.9bn (£8.7bn; $15.5bn) annual deficit and pay back the €32bn debt. It represents at least the fourteenth attempt to reform the French health system since 1975.

    The plan, which he presented on television on 17 May, should save up to €15bn a year by 2007 by cutting costs and increasing charges. The most radical change requires patients to pay a non-reimbursable €1 for each medical consultation, to both save money and give people a “sense of responsibility” for their health care.

    “Our system is failing, it is without a pilot, and no one is responsible,” said Mr Douste-Blazy. “I'm here to defend a new system.”

    As part of the reorganisation, family doctors are to be the starting point for all medical consultations, and they will use a new computerised medical records system.

    The family doctor—regardless of whether he or …

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