Profits vs Patients in France

April 29, 2009

Thousands of French medical workers, including many senior doctors, joined trade unionists in marching through French cities today. Organisers claimed 18,000 attended the major rally in Paris, which was called in opposition to a looming healthcare reform.

The reforms would empower hospital directors to make potentially huge cutbacks in services that they offer, with a priority being given to saving money and retaining “profitable” portions of the medical budget.

This has enraged doctors. As one puts it in the France24 report above, “we are expressing ourselves because the essence of our role is at stake. I mean providing equal care for all, no matter what their origins, no matter what their illness, if profitable or not.”

Or, as Professor François Bricaire told France24, “What concerns us is that in this project there is a potential money-making aspect that would lead to a lower quality of treatment.” Bricaire’s sentiments were echoed by Dr Andre Grimaldi, who told the AP that “One cannot run a hospital like a business” as it concerns health care, which “cannot be judged according to profitability.”

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