GP or Mayor...... or both!

Is your doctor also the mayor of your village too ? Surely a GP’s job is, or should be, a fulltime profession and as such their only thoughts should be to support the health of the patients in their community not to run for their mayor.

Our doctor, one of three in the practice, is the mayor too and so was our last doctor from whom I changed because, based on personal experience, I felt that his mind and commitment was not on his patients.

Our new doctor is at his surgery three mornings a week when he commits himself to afternoon home visits and two afternoons at the surgery when he commits himself to morning visits. I know his afternoon surgery often doesn’t finish until after 9pm because we have been there at that time. However, that’s his choice which he could organise better, if he was not committed to other community work at other times during the week.

Recently when I called him during one of his afternoon surgeries to ask for a home visit to my disabled, diabetic, wheelchair bound husband, he stated categorically that he would not be able to visit that day and may be able to come after his morning surgery the next day ! I accepted his ‘invitation’ to a visit after his morning surgery the next day.

We have never called him out before but when my husband gets ill, he has no physical strength and I can’t lift him myself to get him to a surgery. Consequently as the day went on I was becoming worried about his condition, particularly when he was becoming delirious and I called 15 and a locum arrived at 11.30pm.

Thankfully he diagnosed a skin infection (he had a red mass across his face which was starting to extend across his head) and gave me an ordinance for antibiotics then he wanted to charge me £103. Fortunately I did not have that sort of cash in the house and I was waiting for a new cheque book to arrive which had been on order for 2 weeks – he put the Carte Vitale card into his machine, tapped in something and told me it was OK, nothing to pay ! My husband is 100% ALD but just for anything connected to the reason for his disablement.

As my first paragraph indicates, I disapprove of lack of commitment by doctors who put themselves up for ‘mayorship’ and have to organise their surgery hours and home visits accordingly.

Anyone else agree and have similar experiences and views ?

Hmmm, if they are still looking for the token 'furriner' for this commune for the next elections, it suddenly becomes attractive. As a councillor in the UK it cost me every year, the term as chair actually did give me expenses for some things but it still cost me many times more than any imaginable gain.


maybe I am bonkers but I think the problem here is that when lovedones became suddenly very sick we are frightened, we dont always panic but the fear is there.Having had a terrible winter, I know. We need some one to reassure us and to do what needs doing calmly and quickly. So, how? I still think getting to know all the doctors in the surgery would be good, If you French is not good find some one to go with you, or spend this crummy weather getting it better; Then you will know that there are 3 doctors available and one of them will come when you need him. W have 3 in our surgery it wasnt our"medcin traitant" who diagnosed JP but his colleague who we saw in an emergency, terrible earache, who started it all off. Since then the whole surgery, our doctor his son and his colleaguea have been amazing. I call and someone arrives the same morning or afternoon, they are supportive caring and proffesional. I cant fault them. They even give me the once over to keep me smiling! Try getting to know the whole team, it is worth it.

Doreen, that is part of it as David puts it. GPs had gone down the pan by the time we left four years ago. In five years the practice we are at went from reasonable to unreasonable and the one I was at before that from 1969/70 to 2004 went from fantastic to pretty useless. Up until the late 80s because my work time was divided between the UK and Germany, things went from the UK GP being many times superior to the German to being only a shadow of how well the latter practice developed.

I find faults here, of course. The over prescription of medication drives me nuts. I have either not taken, removed myself or changed to homeopathic alternatives for everything except the recent cardiological ones. Once I see the cardio in the next to weeks even there I am out to reduce those. The reason I can do it is my university membership includes a lot of online libraries that include Medline. I go to see my present do up to specialists with printouts of research and show them things they do not know. Despite that, they are more knowledgeable than UK ones when we left.

My point is that there is plenty wrong, but when one starts comparing ultimately there are no absolutely perfect conclusions. Perhaps if one wins the lottery and has enough money then a top rate private doc might be better. Even then, where I know people who can afford them I tend to see them giving even more little pills. Your point is quite fair but then I think each and every one of us is subjective. That a GP is also a mayor, well formally David Owen, that well known Dr Death of English politics, was still formally a GP when he served his first terms in parliament, so what's new here?

Why should you think it's any different in UK? Doctors aren't barred from well remunerated posts as local councillors. Gone are the days when councillors were simply reimbursed for lost wages; more's the pity. In UK you would now get some doctor from an out of hours service who neither knows you or cares very much. Personally I would rather have a competent doctor who spoke little English than one who spoke perfect English. I'm afraid Brits have fallen for the line that they need a GP who knows them. This is for the most part nonsense. GP's are essentially a triage and aftercare service. I treat them as cabbies and take the first in the rank.

There is another problem in the equation. In a democracy all people should have an equal access to political office, whether farmer, fisherman, builder or doctor. That this one has done it means you happen to be in that place in life's lottery and no more than that.

We had similar problems getting appointments from the doctor for our kids, no problem, change Doctors. They are professional liberale as Andrew says and only get paid when you see them. If he prefers to be a Maire that is his choice, you also have a choice, take your custom elsewhere.

We have called 15 on many occasions, small children specialise in being ill at night, weekends and bank holidays and the call out fee is very expensive however it is still re-eimbursed at the usual rates.

That must have been qute a frightening experience Doreen!you sound as if you coped tremendously well, sadly I suspect you are used to it? Are you able to use other doctors in the same surgery,if there are any, in such an emergency? If so would it be good to get to know them too so as to reassure your husband that someone is always available??

yep - he can probably earn more as a maire than as a GP !

yes, maires are paid and once you're maire of anything more than a village it's well worth it, see here ;-)

I think you're missing a basic point here, Doreen, doctors are prof libérale in France, unlike the UK, and so work as they wish. Serving your local community, whether medicalle or politically or both, should be praised, in my view at least ;-)

They also have us over a barrel as there's a huge lack of doctors in rural France, and some major urban areas too, which gives doctors the power to cherry pick the work they want to do - it's an almost constant news item in the French media with villages even giving a foreign doctor a rent free house and surgery just to get a doctor in the village!

PS - sorry about your husband and your difficult situation.

PPS - no my maire isn't a doctor, he's maire 100% of the time as I live in town, same in my last commune but the one before that he ran the local village store, the commune before that he was a local farmer, before that 100% maire, a local farmer again and so on - there are all sorts out there!