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Three French Mayors Profess Support for an Inter-Communa...

Three French Mayors Profess Support for an Inter-Communal Health Clinic

With a critical lack of doctors and a chronic lack of finances, three communes in the Loiret department of France reflect on the possibility of designing an inter-communal health clinic. “We are all confronted with the problem of a lack of doctors. Several practitioners will be leaving the area within the next three years,” affirms

With a critical lack of doctors and a chronic lack of finances, three communes in the Loiret department of France reflect on the possibility of designing an inter-communal health clinic.

Ingré, La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, and Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle, France shown on a map indicating their locations in relationship to one another

“We are all confronted with the problem of a lack of doctors. Several practitioners will be leaving the area within the next three years,” affirms Christophe Chaillou, Socialist Party Mayor of Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle.

Located in the Centre region and Loiret department of France, the commune is discussing the idea of building an inter-communal health clinic along with its neighbors of Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin and Ingré. It would bring together practitioners - complementing said doctors’ chosen locations. This would help heal those in this western area of the agglomeration which, demographically, has many patients with medical needs. Friday, the first meeting of the communes produced a bill of specifications for the project. After its adoption by the municipal council of Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle at the end of the month, a study will be conducted by a private organization. The estimated cost of the study is 30,000 euros, shared between the three communes.

“No Longer Enough Money”

The goal of the study? To diagnose the situation the three communes face and propose possible solutions. “We can’t seem to choose a color for the wallpaper,” Christian Dumas, Mayor of Ingré, said with irony. This was in response to the anxiety expressed by his opposition who sought to “make the project vulnerable,” in front of the municipal council meeting on September 30th.

Downtown La-Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, showing mayor's office and city hall on the right with a cafe brasserie on the left

“The health clinic is one solution, but it is not the only one,” explained Christophe Chaillou, before pragmatically sliding into the comment that each commune “no longer has enough money to finance this project alone. Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin already has plans to create a health clinic. We said to ourselves, why not expand the ideas for this project?”

Health professionals in the three communes will be consulted, the conclusions of the study presented in March, and the communes’ choice made thereafter.  

At the beginning of the year, the neighboring city of Ormes “recruited” three doctors by graciously offering them their own medical practices if they settled down in the town. Today, the practitioners’ date books are completely filled up and their patients come from beyond the communal borders.

The town hall of Ormes, France, a small town where the government used innovation to attract doctors

Proof, if there can be any, that the community’s needs are dire and the opportunity to come together is “necessary,” according to Chaillou, a fervent supporter of inter-communality. “Cooperation can’t only be done on the level of the agglomeration. And the idea isn’t new. We’ve managed inter-communal cemeteries with Saran and Fleury-les-Aubrais for the past thirty years.”

Does your city work with neighboring cities to improve citizens’ access to necessary services?  Do you think inter-communality could be a solution to certain problems small towns face?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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