Medical road trip: a couple of carers embark on a tour of France... for replacements!

Faced with a shortage of doctors and difficulties in accessing healthcare in rural areas, Anaïs Werestchack, a young general practitioner aged 26, and her partner, a physiotherapist, decided to set off on a medical road trip. Since January 2022, they have been criss-crossing French villages in a van, offering their services on a temporary basis to people who are often in need.

An ambitious and mutually supportive project

Anaïs Werestchack, just graduated and former Miss Auvergne 2021She already knows exactly what she wants: to practise in the countryside, where there is a shortage of GPs. For a year, she and her partner, also a healthcare professional, travelled the roads of France in a converted van, offering their skills where they were most needed. The trip not only enabled them to help people in need of medical care, but also to discover different regions of France and their specific characteristics.

The itinerary of the caring couple

For this year's replacements in France, the couple have planned an itinerary that will take them mainly to in rural areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals. Their aim is to temporarily replace absent GPs and physiotherapists, or to support overburdened medical structures.

A very positive reception from the local population

The villagers warmly welcome Anaïs Werestchack and her companion and show their gratitude for their efforts to provide care for a population that is often disadvantaged in terms of access to healthcare. These temporary replacements also have a positive impact on the local economy, as the couple consume locally during their stay. What's more, this initiative highlights the need to think about long-term solutions to the shortage of doctors in certain areas of France.

Enriching encounters and experiences

This medical road trip is also an opportunity for the couple to meet other healthcare professionals and share their respective skills and experiences. The adventure also allows them to come face-to-face with different medical situations and gain a better understanding of the realities faced by carers and patients in rural areas.

A few figures on medical depopulation in France

  • Approximately 30,000 French communes have no general practitioner installed (source: INSEE)
  • On average 149 GPs per 100,000 inhabitantswith significant regional disparities (source: DREES)
  • Half of GPs have over 55and their numbers have been falling steadily for over 10 years (source: Ordre des Médecins).

This desertification of the medical profession, particularly in rural areas, is causing real problems. difficulties in accessing healthcare for a significant proportion of the French population. Initiatives such as that of the Werestchack couple are therefore invaluable in temporarily improving the situation, while at the same time reminding us of the importance of implementing sustainable solutions.

Towards new solutions to combat medical depopulation?

The medical road trip undertaken by Anaïs Werestchack and her partner is an inspiring example for other carers and highlights the need for innovation to facilitate access to healthcare in rural areas. Among the avenues being explored to solve this problem are :

  • The creation of multidisciplinary health centres to pool resources and attract more professionals
  • Encouraging the development of telemedicine to compensate for the lack of local doctors
  • Financial and tax incentives to encourage young doctors to set up in rural areas
  • A reflection on training and guidance future doctors, to take better account of the needs of rural areas

While we wait for these solutions to be put in place, the Werestchack couple's initiative shows that everyone can do their bit to improve access to healthcare for all.

Marc Dupont

Marc is the ultimate adventurer. A former survival instructor, he has a penchant for wild destinations and extreme challenges. From skydiving in New Zealand to solo trekking in Patagonia, Marc shares his tips for having unforgettable adventures while staying safe.

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