Are we spoiled here by our medical service? GP appointments usually the same day; X-rays same week; hospital specialists often within a week or two. But it seems this is not the norm throughout France (nor for all disciplines).
A study published this week suggests that GP waiting times are getting longer, both because doctors are getting older and retirement is not being matched by replacement, and because many are concentrating on areas which are more remunerative as there are no limits on fees.
But delays in some specialisms are now so long that patients are not bothering to ask for appointments. Ophthalmologists average 117 days; dermatologists 64 days and even gynaecologists 68 days, all much higher than 5 years ago.
The report suggests that things will get worse over the next 5 years, especially as government wants mutuelles to limit payments to patients to discourage them from simply seeking consultations that they know will be covered. It suggests that only patients with a good insurance cover will be able to get the best from the health service - it seems pretty more like UK private practice or the US system than the effective French care we have become used to.
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