The use of ambulances and taxis for medical and health purposes could very soon be subject to new rules. Until now, people whose state of health required care via a private driver were transported alone to the place of their consultation. Very soon, these medical transports could be shared, with several patients in the same vehicle. Every year, 27 million medical trips are made via taxis, for an average price of 50 euros per trip, confirms Statista. A bill, aimed at saving money on these millions of journeys, is being debated.

Revealed by France Info on May 3, a text provides for the establishment of a shared health transport system. There is mention of an increase in travel time of 10 km per passenger transported, “within the limit of a detour of 30 km per journey”, confirms Liberation. In other words, sick people transported by ambulance or taxi could take longer than expected to get to their medical appointment, allowing other sick people in a given area to be picked up.

But that’s not all. The text, in its current form, also provides for the possibility for patients to have to wait “within a reasonable time” for the vehicle supposed to transport them. If the government wishes to make savings by sharing medical transport to cover its costs, the associations supporting patients deplore a situation to the detriment of the most fragile and vulnerable patients. Here is the testimony of a specialized association.

Questioned by France Info, Bruno Lamothe, head of advocacy at Ronodoo, an association which takes care of kidney patients, is concerned about the decline in the quality of the intake of the most vulnerable: “The patient may have nausea, vomiting , And this person will be forced to detour up to 30 km even though they are in a vulnerable situation,” he notes. Furthermore, the association wants the text to consider travel time, rather than the number of kilometers. A 30 km detour in a high-density urban area could extend the journey time by a significant amount.

Another concern of the text, the end of barrier gestures within these medical transports. Wearing a mask and hand disinfection may no longer be required, suggesting a “risk of contamination of the most vulnerable people” also notes the association. A measure contested by professionals in the medical sector, but which seems to suit the government. Find out how much it costs each year to cover ambulances and medical taxis.

According to the official website Santé, the reimbursement of transport costs by health insurance cost more than 6 billion euros in 2022. A figure which just exceeded 4 billion euros 10 years ago, in 2012. Health insurance denounces expenditure “at a high level, compared to other developed countries”. Could the government, looking for savings from Social Security, implement this project? Modifications could be implemented beforehand. According to Libération, repeating a response from the Ministry of Health, the project “is in the consultation phase” and is “still being discussed”. Adjustments to further reassure associations and patients are hoped for.