In Huelgoat, the medical situation has never been so critical as since last summer. “We felt a big turning point in July 2022, with the death of a doctor and the burnout of another”, testifies Julien Simon, 44, the only general practitioner in Huelgoat. For seven months, his days have never been so long.
“I am currently the only doctor who continues to welcome new patients, and this in a fairly large sector,” he explains, before invoking the Hippocratic oath. “I swore not to refuse care to anyone,” he justifies himself. When many surgeries no longer accept new patients, Dr. Simon not only welcomes them, but also makes it a point of honor to examine them during the day if necessary!
Forty patients per day
In fact, Julien Simon’s office today records 2,089 declared patients, when we know that the French average per doctor is limited to 1,060 patients. “In reality, I exceeded 2,300 patients, with 280 new patients recently recovered that I have not yet had time to declare,” he says, pointing to a pile of files not yet processed.
If a doctor sees an average of 22 patients a day, Dr. Simon examines about forty. His day ends with a dozen home visits which can sometimes take him late into the night. “I sleep little at night, except on weekends. I live alone, it does not bother anyone! “, he explains.
Julien Simon makes no secret that his model is Dr Le Men, in Callac, who died at 95 in 2017, and who was the oldest doctor in France at 93. “I had the opportunity to replace him. He hoped that I would take over, he says. It’s people like that who inspire me, more than doctors who have become civil servants and limit themselves to 35 hours! »
“I have always been a hard worker! »
The only rest he allows himself is Sunday. “But some people even call me that day,” he says. I have always been a hard worker, even as a child. I never do things by halves. My dad always put work first. In my way of doing things, I am at peace with my conscience, and the important thing is to do your best! I have many patients who are over 90 years old. We can’t leave them unattended.”
Medicine has always been his vocation, “and has been since primary school,” he says. His older sister, Nicole, attempts an explanation. “Julien was born in 1978, two years after our brother Jean-Marc died of a brain tumour. This generated family chaos,” she says. Julien Simon agrees: “At the beginning of my studies, I wanted to become a neurosurgeon, no doubt to avenge the fate of this brother whom I did not know”, he testifies.
“I had promised myself to come back and settle here”
Originally from Lesneven, Julien Simon has long dreamed of settling in Huelgoat. “We used to come here on a family outing. I have always found this corner very beautiful, both poetic and mystical. At the end of my first year of medicine, I came for a hike with some friends, and I promised myself that I would come back and settle there”. The doctor began his career with replacements between Brest and Quimper, notably for SOS Médecins. “I quickly saw that the campaign was made more for me”. After Scrignac, in 2007, he replaced a doctor in Carhaix between 2010 and 2016. “I then opened my practice in Huelgoat in October 2016”.
First surprise, the Regional Health Agency informs him that he will not be able to claim the bonus for settling in the medical desert (€30,000 and no rent for five years). “I had no right to it. They considered that I was not far enough from my first location,” he regrets.
Soon a brand new office
Today, Julien Simon is delighted with the construction of the future Health Center launched by the municipality, within which a brand new office, to PMR standards, is intended for him. ” It’ll be nice. My office is a bit dated and it is quite humid, because of the proximity of the lake,” he says. He plans to move there in a few months.
“A representative of the Primary Health Insurance Fund is looking into my case to ensure that I can benefit from a medical assistant”. The irony is that to benefit from it, according to the texts, he would have to increase his patient base by 30%: “But that, I really couldn’t! »
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