France to fine patients for missing medical appointments — RT World News

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said those without a good excuse would face a penalty of €5

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced that the French government proposes to fine patients if they fail to attend doctor’s appointments without an acceptable excuse.

The policy is said to be aimed at supporting the health service as it struggles to cope with the increasing demands of an aging population amid staff shortages and rising costs.

An estimated 27 million patients miss medical appointments each year, Atal said on Monday.

“We cannot allow this to continue.” The Prime Minister said, noting that the new procedure could free up between 15 million and 20 million appointments annually for other patients.

The proposed move would be part of a law that could come into effect from January 2025, if approved by Parliament.

Attal's announcement of a proposed €5 fine for not attending scheduled appointments was met with immediate criticism from doctors' unions and patient groups.

“It won't work. It's just a tax… and the end result will be the loss of the health system.” Patrick Belloux, president of the Society of Emergency Physicians, told The Guardian:

GP Luc Duquesnel reportedly told France Bleu radio that it would be better “Educate people instead of telling professionals they have to tax them, which will strain relationships with our patients.”

According to Gerard Raymond, president of the French Patients Association, which opposes the measure, the punishment is intended to make patients feel guilty rather than responsible.

Under the plan, patients will be required to provide debit or credit card details when arranging an appointment. If they fail to attend without giving at least 24 hours' notice, doctors can fine them. Patients who have a valid reason to miss their appointment will be excused.

It will be up to the doctor to decide whether the reason for missing the appointment is reasonable enough to avoid a fine.

The shortage of doctors has long been the biggest problem facing France's national healthcare system, along with access to treatment and long waiting times.

Attal said he would also seek to increase the number of students completing hyperbaric medical training in a bid to address the acute shortage of medical staff. The number of students entering the second year of medical degrees will rise from 10,000 annually in 2023 to 12,000 in 2025, and 16,000 in 2027, according to the Prime Minister.

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