Healthcare Reform: the Hospital Plan 2012
During a visit October 25 to the southern French city of Carcassonne, President Nicolas Sarkozy called for more restrained healthcare spending in the face of global financial tremors while simultaneously reaffirming his dedication to public health. The visit marks the President’s latest activity in the Hospital Plan 2012, which has invested $6.5 billion in objectives such as the re-organization of health service locations and updating of IT systems, toward the goal of streamlining services and optimizing healthcare quality.
“I understand perfectly the inexhaustible nature of public health needs, but I would like us all to have the honesty to recognize France’s dedication to healthcare, which has surpassed that of any other nation,” Mr. Sarkozy said during a roundtable with Carcassonne officials.
As an example of France’s unprecedented dedication to the well-being of its citizens, he cited the increase in public health employees such as nurses, a profession whose ranks have swelled to nearly half a million, he said, in a 25 percent increase since 2007.
Nevertheless, Mr. Sarkozy emphasized that in the face of the world financial crisis fiscal restraint is essential, even in vital areas like healthcare.
“There is a crisis going on; I want everybody to understand that,” Mr. Sarkozy stated, exhorting his audience to “Look at what happens in countries that don’t make the necessary changes when the time comes.”
Mr. Sarkozy also met with nursing students and teaching staff at the Training Institute of Nursing of Carcassonne and visited the construction site of a new hospital.
France currently spends 11% of its GDP, or nearly $281 billion, on healthcare and related services. Nearly one-third of France’s hospitals are public.