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France to relax rules on prescription glasses, contact lenses


France will soon allow people aged 16-42 who need to renew a prescription for glasses or contact lenses to do so without requiring a trip to an ophthalmologist. MPs voted in favour of the move, which is designed to reduce waiting times and, ultimately, afford a better service for patients, last Friday. Under the new rules, the scope of orthoptists’ work will increase and they will also be able to prescribe glasses and contact lenses. Supporters say it will make access to eyecare easier for the public and reduce waiting time but critics say it will reduce the quality of care. Up until now, anyone wishing to get a prescription for glasses in France needed to visit an ophthalmologist – a medical doctor and surgeon specialising in eye diseases and varied complaints. This is in contrast to countries such as the UK, where people can get a prescription for glasses and contact lenses by visiting a high street optician, instead of a doctor. In France, ophthalmologists are often based in hospitals. As a result, there can be delays getting appointments. In contrast, orthoptists are specialists in vision, eye movements, and how the eyes work together, and may not be based in a hospital. They are less likely to deal with urgent cases. *Image by Nicola Giordano from Pixabay 

Free access to contraception to be extended to more young women in France


Women in France aged up to 25 years old will get access to free birth control from January 2022 onwards. The initiative is part of the country’s plans to combat young women not taking advantage of contraception for financial reasons. The new measure, which covers the pill, IUD devices and contraceptive implants, reportedly cost the state around 21 million euros ($24.8 million) per year, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday. Olivier Véran said those under 25 would not be charged for medical appointments, tests, or other medical procedures related to birth control. “This will cover hormonal contraception, biological tests that goes with it, the prescription of contraception and all care related to this contraception up until the age of 25. "There is a decline in contraception use among some young women and it is mainly for financial reasons," Veran told France 2 television. "It is unbearable that women cannot protect themselves, cannot have access to contraception if they want to make that choice because it is too expensive," he added. At present, the age limit for free access to contraception in France was 18 years. The policy announcement comes as President Emmanuel Macron's government prepares for the 2022 election campaign. *Image by Gabriela Sanda from Pixabay

French healthcare system to benefit from €7bn investment


France’s healthcare system is to benefit from €7bn worth of investment, which is designed to drive innovation in the sector. Speaking at the end of June, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that public funding would be made available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Part of France’s Health Innovation Plan 2030, €2bn will be invested by the state-owned Banque Publique d'Investissement (BPI) in start-ups and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the healthcare industry. France will also invest €2bn in research for emerging and infectious diseases, biotherapies and digital health. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan will allocate almost €750 million for emerging infectious diseases and CBRN (nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical) threats. Another €800m will be dedicated to biotherapies and the bioproduction of innovative therapies that represent 50% of the clinical trials currently underway. These technologies enable the development of so-called personalised medicine by providing therapeutic solutions in oncology, immunology, virology and for rare diseases, for example. President Macron wants to make France the leading European country in healthcare innovation by 2030. He has committed to lift administrative hurdles to speed up organisational changes in the healthcare system. *Image by Parentingupstream from Pixabay

Did you know you could travel abroad for cancer screening and treatment?


Everybody dreads being told that they, or someone close to them, has cancer. Even with fantastic developments in detection and treatment it is still a very scary prospect and having the best medical care available can make people more at ease and able to fight the illness as best they can. In France healthcare institutions have to meet certain conditions that ensure any patient with cancer has the guarantee that they will be very well supported. If the institutions do not meet these conditions then they cannot provide cancer treatment. You can therefore be certain that is you have been given the diagnosis that no-one wants to hear that you have options to be able to access the healthcare system that has been ranked number one by the World Health Organisation. Travelling to France to receive treatment may seem like a unnecessary journey, however, the treatment you receive will be first rate and comprehensive. France Surgery offers a medical team to support you that is made up of internationally renowned healthcare professionals that will provide comprehensive care both during and after your treatment, which includes psychological support, fatigue management, dietary advice.