In Orne, a medical practice moves into a bus to get closer to its patients

In Orne, a medical practice moves into a bus to get closer to its patients

A pale winter sun struggles to warm the small shaded square of Vimoutiers (Orne). In front of the nursery school, under the willows, the first patients come and go in front of a white and blue camper van bearing the “Medicobus” logo. Clara, 17, comes out through the narrow door, visibly relieved. The young girl, who suffers from respiratory problems, had spent the morning looking in vain for a doctor. It was Jeannine, her grandmother, who spotted the Médicobus one day on the small square, and who called to make an appointment.

Like every Tuesday and Friday, the mobile medical office parked in this small town in the east of the department. Twelve practitioners – nine retired, three active – take turns there. The vehicle stops, on fixed days, in eight towns in the Orne-Est territorial professional health community (CPTS). “Our objective is to improve the care of unscheduled procedures, in a region where nearly 20% of social security beneficiaries no longer have a treating doctor,” emphasizes Karine Foucoin, its director. That is 11,000 people in this part of Orne, one of the most important “medical deserts” in France. “In Vimoutiers, the three doctors are overwhelmed,” explains Dr Dominique Charron, who provides Médicobus consultations two Fridays a month.

Creation of 100 Médicobus by the end of 2024

Last year, the mobile practice carried out 4,887 procedures – and around 10,000 since its creation in October 2020. It sees nearly 25 patients every day. This “pace” responds to a well-oiled organization: patients are greeted by a medical assistant, then pass into Dr. Charron’s small consultation space, which also houses an examination table. “I prepare each file, sort the exams, take care of the payment,” explains Lamia Abid, the medical assistant of the day, with her warm smile.

The success of the Médicobus is due to the president of the departmental council of the Order of Physicians, and to the collaboration of multiple local stakeholders. This success gave ideas to the government, which announced the creation of 100 Médicobus in France by the end of 2024. And even if this initiative relies largely on retired doctors, in Vimoutiers patients are rejoice at this idea which “reassures us all”.

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