Fewer than four out of 10 GPs performed call duty in 2019.
Fewer and fewer volunteers for the guards. According to a report of the National Council of the Order of Physicians (CNOM), the participation rate of general practitioners in evenings, nights and weekends on call is decreasing. At the national level, the volunteering rate fell by 0.5 points between 2018 and 2019.
Twenty-four thousand general practitioners, out of the 63,000 likely to participate, were registered for at least one duty in 2019, i.e. just under 4 out of 10, and 89% of them are established private doctors. The two reasons given are “medical demography”, i.e. the number of doctors in France, and the “disengagement of liberal doctors”. The reduction in the number of volunteer doctors widens the sector covered by on-call arrangements, which can be a hindrance for some health professionals.
Variations according to the territories
Depending on the region, the effectiveness of the system varies: there are less than 10 volunteer doctors in 35% of the territories and less than 5 in 17% of the sectors. There are large variations between rural and urban areas. In Paris, 5% of general practitioners take part in on-call duty, in particular due to the presence of the SOS Médecins association, which provides this service. In Eure and Charente, despite the participation of 70% of doctors, there were regular prefectural requisitions. For the CNOM, this could be linked to organizational concerns in these territories.
The departmental councils of the order of doctors suggest the implementation of financial incentive measures (tax exemption and increase in on-call packages), the increase in the participation of student or salaried doctors and the strengthening of security. The report mentions two other solutions: the questioning of volunteering and the abolition of guards on certain time slots.