Home > It's Happening in France > Getting closer to the customer (now that he’s gone).

Getting closer to the customer (now that he’s gone).

I feel that I owe it to the thousands (OK, maybe I’m exagerating a little – there’s at least my mother!) who have been following the swine flu saga in France to provide updates as soon as they happen.

So I’m afraid that I’m a little late, as the news came out yesterday that our Health Minister had finally given in to the lobbying and would be allowing General Practitioners to carry out vaccinations. If you remember, the entire French population up until now has had to queue outside with their five kids in the freezing snow to finally get access to the commandeered gymnasium where a totally overworked commandeered medic would pierce your skin with malice such is the poor rate of pay he’s getting for working Sundays….

OK, maybe a little over-the-top again, I’m sorry.

So from next Tuesday (now, I’ve not been able to find what is the reason why, for example, they can’t start on Monday), if you’ve not yet been vaccinated, you can hop on down to your local friendly family doctor and have a bit of a chinwag while he lovingly eases a tiny little needle into your duaghter’s arm while distracting her with jokes, sweets and, if you’re lucky, a bit of a singsong. That’s unless the waiting room is already full of people who’ve been standing out in the cold for three hours and have now all got common colds….

There’s just one problem however. Two in fact.

Firstly (and read this carefully), the doctor is going to have to go out and fetch his own vaccines. Normally, the patient would go down to the local pharmacy, pick up a dose and take it in for use by the professionnal. However, because the pharmaceutical companies famously managed to negociate a batch size of 10, and government logistics haven’t yet invented milk runs to drop off a bow at each surgery, the doctor himself is going to have to drop in at the local chemists in the morning in his pickup and load a day’s supply.

And what is he going to get for his pains? 6 euros 60 (the normal consultancy rate is around 22 euros for a 10-15 minute visit) and this needs to cover the time necessary for all of the paperwork that will need to be filled in (traceability, it seems, is highly important in this business).

Hopefully he’s not advancing the money to buy the vaccines. In all probability, he won’t have a lot of work, people now being totally disinterested. But if my maths are right, 94m ordered, 50m cancelled, 5m used means that there are still just under 40m to be gotten rid of.

So we’ve got to look as if we’re doing something.

Please don’t hesitate to use as an example of the advantages of a batch size of one!!

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