in France, travel times to see a doctor are getting longer, as are waiting times

in France, travel times to see a doctor are getting longer, as are waiting times
in France, travel times to see a doctor are getting longer, as are waiting times

In Paris, at least, we have appointments quickly“, says Martine Duhamel, 77 years old, resident of La Ferté-Vidame (Eure-et-Loir), who has given up consultations in her department for her husband’s ophthalmological care.

The ophthalmologistis in Verneuil-sur-Avre 20 km away“, he “operates in Evreux at least an hour and a half away” and it needs “six months” to get an appointment. Same route strewn with obstacles to find a scanner: “You have to go to Dreux or Chartres“, an hour’s drive away.

We live a little dangerously, but as long as I can drive, it’s okay…“, she whispers.

Travel times to access care are longer compared to 2019 according to a FHF study

Émilie Delaunay, 33, from Cherbourg (Manche), also has to drive miles due to the lack of a specialized gynecologist in the region to treat her pain linked to endometriosis: “Three hours/three and a half hours when I can afford the highway, four hours when I have to take the main road“. With “the obligation to spend a day at work“.

According to the IPSOS 2024 barometer of the French Hospital Federation (FHF), “the time to access healthcare services has increased significantly in five years“.

To go to a pharmacist, the French estimate their travel time at 13 minutes on average, compared to nine minutes in 2019. To go to the emergency room, the time is currently estimated at 28 minutes, compared to 23 minutes five years ago. A more striking difference when the study compares actual journeys in rural areas and urban areas. A city dweller goes to the ENT in 33 minutes, a rural person drives 57 minutes to consult.

French people who give up care because of too long delays

The duration between making an appointment and the consultation is also increasing: it took four days in 2019 to consult a general practitioner, today it takes ten, according to the FHF survey.

Result: six out of ten French people have already given up on at least one treatment procedure over the last five years, including 50% due to waiting times that are too long to obtain an appointment, and a third due to the geographical distance, according to the IPSOS barometer.

In the diagonal of the void, residents no longer find a treating doctor

In an April 2024 survey, the Jean Jaurès Foundation mapped this distance from practitioners.

It is more marked “in the diagonal of the void, this space with a width of approximately 200 kilometers sliding from the Meuse to the Creuse, which continues in a more diffuse way up to the Pyrenees“, notes the study.

In Dordogne, which is one of the departments with the poorest general practitioners per capita, Margaret Méchin, 75, never stops looking for a GP. “Nobody in Bergerac did not want to take back three elderly people: my mother (since deceased, Editor’s note), my partner and me“.

A single specialized doctor who consults by… telephone

In Bonneville (Haute-Savoie), Charlotte has great difficulty monitoring her eight-year-old daughter, who is epileptic. In the nearest hospital, in Contamine-sur-Arve, “there is only one doctor who treats epilepsy. He is so overwhelmed that we no longer see him“.

Consultations with the doctor are only done by telephone, in the evening, she says.

In medical deserts there are delays in treatment and diagnostic errors

There are places where people are forced to travel 150 or 200 km to access” to an electroencephalogram, confirms Doctor Norbert Khayat, pediatrician and epilepsy specialist in Lyon.

This causes delays in support, or diagnostic errors“, he regrets. “Some patients find it too complicated and no longer seek treatment“.

With AFP



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