Alliance VITA notes the ambitions stated in the report for a French model for palliative care, renamed accompaniment care. This change in terminology should not be allowed to mask the reality. The true challenge today, is to provide equal access to palliative care for all and everywhere in France whereas according to the French Court of Auditors, only one in two of those in need are able to obtain access.
The guarantee for access to palliative care is a prerequisite to any possible modification to end of life accompaniment. It should be remembered that this right was established through the 1999 law.
The overall care for patients and their families, the development and awareness of the palliative culture, the will to further involve society in end-of-life accompaniment, are essential and must be supported.
However, there remains the question of the means required in order to achieve such ambitions. There are reasons for doubt since the PLFSS (projet de loi de financement de la Sécurité Sociale – Social Security funding bill) was adopted without any additional financial commitment being made for palliative care. Additionally, according to the latest report by the Court of Auditors, the yearly budget for palliative care is around 1.5 billion Euros. However, the overall budget for the current 2021-2024 plan, i.e. 171 million Euros, represents a yearly increase of 2.85%, which is less than the rate of inflation (about 4% on average since January 2021).
“This text looks like a declaration of intent whereas we are at the moment for committing to additional means. Remember that we are experiencing a multiform crisis in the French health system, which is close to implosion. In such a context, we are more than circumspect at the absence of any financial and human costings whereas the Government intends in February to table a bill covering both palliative care and the claimed “assistance in dying”.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide which are hidden behind this expression cannot in any way be considered as any form of care. We are calling for material means for palliative care to be truly accessible for all and not to be exploited as an alibi for lifting the prohibition to kill: the precious principle behind the medical code of ethics, intended to protect all patients, remains the key to our trust in the French health system.” According to Tugdual Derville, the spokesman for Alliance VITA.