As a French GP, I believe my story is that of the majority of my fellow doctors inside and outside France.
It is impossible to speak of a French GP's life and work without understanding the social security system by which patients are reimbursed for the cost of medical care.
The system was designed in 1945 with the aim of establishing a single service to provide equal social protection for all. This necessitated a rapid expansion of services.
It is no coincidence that the majority of doctors practising in France today were trained in response to this growth in demand for medical care - a need that continues to grow.
During that initial period, the social security system offered doctors a contract laying down the rules of good practice and setting fees. Our unions signed up to this.
I began practising in 1976 at the age of 28 after eight or nine years as a …