Keeping doctors’ appointment times: an unprecedented survey for the Order of physicians

The national counsel for the Order of Physicians conducted a survey to gather testimonies, perceptions and expectations from nearly 35,000 doctors, supplemented by the results of a poll carried out by data mirroring? Simultaneously? with over 4,000 health-system users. The conclusions of the survey were published on December 17, 2015.

The Order clarifies « a profound discomfort in the medical profession ». Indeed, if 89% among them are proud to practice a profession that constitutes above all a vocation, they consider that practicing this occupation has too many constraints and is under-valorized: 97% of doctors consider that they endure too many regulatory, economic, and administrative obligations, which encroach on their medical time, and 91% consider that their public service mission is poorly recognized.

Accordingly, there are 74% who proclaim to be worried about the profession’s future, an uneasiness which by the way, extends to the entire health-care system, and is shared by their clientele: 82% of doctors, and 63% of the French people, consider that the health care system is deteriorating, and 86% of doctors are pessimists for the future (for 69% of the French people).

Eighty-three per cent of doctors also feel the health-care system has been deteriorating for the past 10 years, an observation shared by 63% of the French. In question, the health-care steering by the public authorities, judged unsatisfactory by 93% of doctors, and the feeling by 53% of French people that health is not a priority for the public authorities.

For the Order of physicians the first priority is to “recover medical time”. For the president, Patrick Bouet: “The doctor desires to care for people. That’s why he chose to study medicine. Yet, nowadays, his medical time is taken up by administrative tasks, which are a source of frustration. This is true for all doctors, not only those in private practice!”

Ninety-eight % of doctors deem that increasing medical time by reducing administrative complexities is an important path for reform: it is even a priority for 86% of them. This plebiscite is not surprising for a profession which has repeatedly sounded the alarm in 16 regional meetings organized by the Order since September, of not having sufficient time dedicated to care.

The Order of Doctor’s esteems that it is necessary to articulate its’ propositions around medical time, and by thereby maintaining this aspect, appears for them the best means to propose an efficient system for all.

An encouraging and positive fact, in the everyday life of doctors, their relationship with patients obtained very high satisfaction scores (88% of whom 20% obtained a “very satisfied” rating) and 97% of patients stating the relationship is good with their family practitioner (with 68% stating that it is “very good”): the other private practice physicians (95% of whom 50% scored “very good”) the hospital physicians (91% of whom 47% were rated “very good”) or even the occupational physicians (86% of whom 29% obtained a “very good” score)! The world of medical consultations thus seems to be preserved.

Faced with the concerns for tomorrow’s health, the physicians want to be actors of change and unanimously call for a shared reform of the health-care system. This large-scale consultation would give rise to a report and propositions formulated for the future of the health-care system which will be rendered public on January 26, during a major debate, and communicated to institutional physicians, health-care actors, and all physicians.


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