The government asked private complementary health insurance funds to pay about 1.1 billion Euros in 2009
to reduce the public health insurance budget deficit that is estimated to reach 4.1 billion € in 2008, and 7.6 billion
in 2009. As compensation, complementary insurance funds are offered a place in collective bargaining over fees
for health professionals.
The Minister of Health Mme. Bachelot presented to the government a reform package which would transform
radically the organization and provision of hospital care in France, once adopted. The reform includes a provision
for a new governance structure with greater deconcentration of financing and negotiation powers.
Following the framework agreement signed in 2007 between the unions of private nurses and the sickness funds,
an amendment was passed in September 2008 setting out the conditions for regulating the regional distribution
of nurses' activity. In particular, nurses' freedom of installation will be restricted in areas with high nurse density.
In return, financial and material incentives are proposed for encouraging settlement in under-served areas.
The national French pharmaceutical association proposed to create an electronic patient file which will allow
pharmacists, subject to patients' approval, to check for all medication consumed by a patient during the past
four months, whether it is prescribed by a physician or not. The idea is to enable pharmacists to prevent the use
of contraindicated drug combinations which can result in adverse reactions as well as to avoid unnecessary treatments.
After 4 years of experimentation and public consultation, a national recommendation for developing cooperation
(i.e. skill mix) between health professionals has been published by "Haute Autorité de santé" and National Observatory
of Health Professions in April 2008. The text recommends a number of reforms on education and training of health
professionals, provides a regulatory framework for developing cooperation, and arguments for their necessity.
At the beginning of 2007, smoking set to be illegal in public areas, work places and schools. This ban has been extended successfully to cafés and restaurants since January 2008. Despite the initial fears, the smoking ban in cafés seemed
to be supported largely by general public. The incidence rates of several cardiovascular diseases seemed to decline
compared to last year although the law had no effect on tobacco sales and consumption of nicotine-replacement drugs.