in Nancy, a “speed dating” against medical deserts

Aerial photos as proof, Éric Pierot praises the village of Colombey-les-Belles, its college, its high school, its retirement home, the surrounding nature and the distance to the neighboring hospital of Toul and the University Hospital of Nancy. “It’s spacious, bright, air-conditioned, and the rent is only €400 per month! » Éric Pierot is however not a real estate agent, but a general practitioner!

Like 34 colleagues, he took part in an evening of flash meetings between established doctors and medical interns, organized for the first time in Nancy by the Regional Health Agency and the Meurthe-et-Moselle departmental council. Duration of the interview: five minutes.

Patient and working time

Éric Pierot is looking for a buyer with a view to his retirement in a year, as well as another, to replace his deceased partner. And he spares no effort. In the middle of a conversation with an intern, he scrolls through photos of his practice shared with two other doctors. “I have a very pleasant rural patient base, an active queue of 1,800 patients, I do walking tours, only work 3.5 days a week, every third Saturday, and I don’t need to find replacements for the holidays since we replace each other”, he lists.

Citing very comfortable incomes, he adds the icing on the cake: the organization of the cabinet in professional civil society, which allows to associate, without the administrative constraints of a multi-professional health center. He concludes : “Besides, if you have an interested boyfriend or girlfriend, there is room for two. »

Facing him, Axel Tardif, 27, in the coveted position of intern in the last semester. He is still hesitating about where he will fall, but he assures us that “Localization actually plays quite a bit. It is the partnerships and the network of the territory in health actors that count”. Like many young people who have made the trip, the countryside does not scare him. “With all the existing systems (care networks, telemedicine, etc.), it has become possible. And there is peace of life and more accessible real estate. »

Difficulties accessing care

Ringing, the bell rings: the five minutes are up, new interview! Next door, a doctor from Longwy highlights the proximity of Luxembourg and its airport, another “sells” his skydiving club, another the kindergarten 500 m from the practice… This first evening of speed dating is highly appreciated, even if some doctors come out frustrated: some of the students will only be available in a year.

But the situation is critical. “Within five years, 30% of our general practitioners will retire, and the number of trained interns will not be enough. From year to year, our map of territories in tension progresses”, describes Joan Orcier, territorial director of the ARS (read the marks). The departmental council recently voted a health roadmap, with a view to increasing its support for the installation or telemedicine, “with a very social challenge: access for the most modest and dependent, not always able to travel many kilometres”, explains the socialist president, Chaynesse Khirouni, who intends to reiterate the speeddating and extend it to medical specialists.

The organizers are betting on favourites, based on shared projects. “It’s much better than going through classified ads, the feeling of the meeting is important, comments Dr. Sophie Laruelle, based east of Lunéville. It is not because we need it that we are going to entrust our practice to just anyone. »

Her need: a partner, as she is increasingly contacted by patients of colleagues who have announced their retirement. “I want to keep my quality of life, not to work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the rate of 40 consultations a day”, she describes. Among her arguments with young people, her equipment: she has an ultrasound scanner, an electrocardiograph, teleconsultation equipment… and a particularly pleasant terrace, where she invites them to have lunch, to get to know each other better.


Medical deserts are expanding

30% of the French population lives in a “medical desert”, that is to say that she encounters great difficulty in consulting (either because of the distance, or because of the waiting time).

The number of general practitioners decreased by an average of 1% per year between 2017 and 2021. 12,422 doctors are in a situation of combined employment and retirement.

11% of French people aged 17 and over do not have a doctor.

1.6 million French give up medical care every year.

Source: Senate information report “Restore territorial equity in access to care”, March 2022.

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