French health minister François Braun: many health care systems are faltering

Public health care systems are faltering in many parts of the world, especially since the outbreak of the Covid-19, Health and Prevention Minister François Braun told the AAPA on February 21.

Meeting more than 20 members—some at the ministry and others on Zoom—he said the problems varied from country to country, but all in developed countries the systems were built after the Second World War on the basis of availability of health care rather than needs. This has to change, he said.

France’s plan to overhaul its system includes an end to competition between the public and private sectors. Instead, it will be based on collaboration among practitioners. The system will remain national, but be adapted to regional and local conditions. North Marseilles’ solution to the “medical desert” problem was for the University Hospital to create a practice of salaried GPs.

France now admits 11,000 students to medical school a year, instead of 3,000 to 3,500 in the 1990’s. Braun dismissed the claim that doctors are underpaid. Doctors in Switzerland are often said to be paid more than in France. But according to the OECD, they earn 3 times the average national salary in both cases.

The government is committed to abolishing the fee-per-act in public hospitals. Many young people want to become nurses, but some 20% drop out because of poor pay and training that is no longer relevant to their work. He stressed the importance of primary care, doctors’ wish to work in group medical practices and the spreading culture of prevention in France. This includes sport, vaccinations and healthy eating.

Braun acknowledged that any reform needs more explanation in France than in other countries, if the population is to accept it. He is waiting for opinions from two official bodies before recommending whether to allow the “few thousand” unvaccinated health care workers to go back to work