Cracks in the French Health System

Several people have been warning that the French health system was ‘becoming like the English NHS’ and this may well be true.

Our local hospital doesn’t have a good reputation despite being newly rebuilt during the last five years or so. The nurses who went to CC’s English classes said they wouldn’t want to work there after doing their practical skills and it seems to be more and more difficult to recruit doctors.

Most people prefer to see consultants in Reims and if it’s a case of an operation then they are prepared to travel to Reims, Paris or Chalon rather than trust themselves to the local surgeons.

But I can only speak from experience and with Bear and Whale that’s quite a bit.

Communication seems to be a major problem. Some years ago after Whale had a stay in hospital he came out with a series of appointments which they had made for him. One was with a urologist and we duly booked an ambulance for the given date. He was running late but it seemed that many people who turned up after us went in before us until we were the only people left in the waiting room.

After nearly four hours we went in.

“What brings you here?” asked the doctor.

“I don’t really know. It was Dr H who made the appointment when he was in hospital two months ago.”

But, obviously there had been no letter of explanation.

The consultant asked a few basic questions but didn’t even examine Whale. Then he just dismissed us saying,”Carry in as you have been doing.”

With this in mind, when the oncologist that Whale saw a month ago said he was making an appointment for him to see a gastroenterologist because of his chronic constipation I decided to write a little note of the problems myself as i wasn’t free to go along last Monday.

Sure enough, there had been no communication from Dr R and Whale said Dr F read my note but didn’t bother to examine him. He decided that he had ‘false diarhoea’ and would need a scan. But he didn’t give him a prescription for one!

I learned later that the doctors at the hospital are penalised if they ask for too many examinations so they leave it to the GPs to sort out.

As I was going to see our doctor on Thursday (to have my ears syringed) I thought she might have heard something. She hadn’t, so I explained the situation and she made out the prescription for a scan.

Our home nurse rang to say it was an urgent appointment and they are doing it on Monday, which just gave her time to do the necessary blood test and get the results – plus a ‘bon de transport’. She brought the injection that Whale has to take with him and all the paperwork in this morning, bless her! All I had to do was book the ambulance.

The nurse agreed that there was a less than caring attutude among doctors at the hospital and told us of other cases where they were bordering on negligent.

Let’s hope we remain as healthy as possible so we don’t have to test the theory ourselves.

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5 Responses to “Cracks in the French Health System”

  1. me2013 Says:

    It does sound like the NHS, the trouble here is the NHS is under funded and over used, that said so are the schools and housing not much better. There are far too many people living here in the UK.

  2. sablonneuse Says:

    It’s an economic problem here too but it has been ignored for a long time. The French health system was excellent but very wasteful

  3. guyana_gyal Says:

    I keep hearing stories like these about med care in developed countries, and here we are, in developing countries, thinking that it’s better ‘out there’.

  4. sablonneuse Says:

    Sad to say it doesn’t seem that way, G-G.

  5. Z Says:

    Having needed the NHS for Russell repeatedly this year, it’s been fantastic. Appointments for scans etc arranged quickly, prompt communication between doctor and hospital by email, home visits from the GP without us even having to ask for them, contacts from nurses and OH people without me having to lift a finger, phone number of specialist nurse – it is apparent how it all costs so much, but it’s been faultless.

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