In ten years in Europe, the number of sick leaves has increased by more than 40%. Real need or abuse of the profession? Health Insurance contacted 5,000 doctors identified as major prescribers of work stoppages this summer to take stock.
It is a French practice which is expensive. In ten years, the number of sick leaves has increased by more than 40%, with impressive figures. In 2022 alone, 8.8 million work stoppages were prescribed in Europe, at a cost of 14 billion euros for Health Insurance. Failing health or stops of convenience?
An aging labor force
The first explanation is however not dishonest but linked to the population and the evolution of working time. Thus, in 20 years, the proportion of workers over 50 has almost doubled, and the opportunities for presenting fragile health that requires a period of rest are increasing.
An evolution which should not be reduced during the following years, the retirement age being now fixed at 64 years.
Abuses feared by Health Insurance
However, the question of abuse may arise, especially during social movements, such as the recent one by the police. This summer, the Health Insurance therefore contacted 5,000 doctors identified as important prescribers of work stoppages.
Faced with this increase in sick leave, the profession is also asking for more prevention.
A subject that will be discussed in the National Assembly at the start of the school year, on the occasion of the Social Security financing bill.
Up to 16,000 doctors implicated… for savings
For Dr. Christophe Villeneuve, President of the MG union consulted by TipsForWomens, this decision is not surprising but does not really take into account the medical causes or the needs of patients.
“The current situation is that the Health Insurance aims in 2024 to reduce the expenditure of daily allowances by 94 million euros in savings” he tells us.
A goal developed after a surge in work stoppages outside covid in 2022, pointed out by the Court of Auditors. “To fulfill this mission, the Health Insurance therefore had the idea of pointing the finger at doctors as preceptors of “complacent” or “unjustified” work stoppages.
A campaign started in July with 3 levels of objectives:
- Identify 1000 doctors who would be “pro” prescribers and submit them to what is called a “setting under objective” (MSO), to ask them to reduce their work stoppage prescriptions by around 10%. If this is not achieved, the doctors would have a penalty of approximately 7200 euros;
- 5,000 doctors who are slightly above the average, will also be summoned for a fellowship discussion to discuss their rulings;
- 10,000 other doctors will be interviewed to discuss the interest of work stoppages.
“A statistical and non-medical management of health”
What irritates Dr. Christophe Villeneuve, President of the MG union, is that these arbitrations are not made on medical arguments but on an accounting and statistical management of health, the sole purpose of which is to save money.
“It should be noted that these are doctors judged on a prescription rate that exceeds the regional average. It is not the medical argument that is put forward, but a “statistical” offence. In total, there are therefore 16,000 doctors whose work will be called into question who will receive information that is more or less easy to digest and which is not based on medical facts.