Timeline of healthcare in France

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This is a timeline of healthcare in France. Major events such as policies and organizations are described.

Big picture[edit]

Year/period Key developments
Middle Ages Southern France is one of the leading medical centers in Europe. The University of Montpellier is founded and becomes prominent.[1]
1770s–1850s Paris becomes a world center of medical research and teaching. The "Paris School" emphasizes that teaching and research should be based in large hospitals and promotes the professionalization of the medical profession and the emphasis on sanitation and public health.[2]
1871–1914 The French Third Republic follows behind Bismarckian Germany, as well as Great Britain, in developing the welfare state including public health, accident and old-age insurance.[3]
1928–2000 From its foundation, the French national health insurance progresses in incremental stages, with big extensions in 1945, 1961, 1966, 1978, and finally in 2000, achieving universal coverage.[4]
1945 onwards France develops a universal healthcare system.[5]
Present Today, the French healthcare system is one of universal healthcare largely financed by government national health insurance and is regarded among the best in the world. In the last years, there has been an increase in the rate of obesity among the French due mostly to the replacement in eating habits of traditional healthy French cuisine by junk food.[6]


Year/period Type of event Event Location
1289 Organization The University of Montpellier is founded. Its medical school becomes prominent and famous for arguing in the fourteenth century that the Black Death is caused by a miasma entering the opening of the body's pores, citing theories developed by Galen. Doctors educated at Montpellier advocate against bathing because they claim bathing opens the body's pores, making one more susceptible to the bubonic plague.[7][8] Montpellier
1443 Organization Hospices de Beaune is founded as a hospital for the poor.[9] Beaune
1602 Organization Hôpital de la Charité is founded.[10] Paris
1633 Organization Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul is founded as a society of young women who share their dedication of helping the poor and the sick.[11][12]
1645 Organization Charenton is founded as a lunatic asylum.[13] Saint-Maurice, Val-de-Marne
1656 Organization Bicêtre Hospital is established.[14][15] Paris
1752 Organization The Hôpital-Général de Douai is founded.[16] Douai
1761 Organization Hôtel-Dieu of Carpentras hospital is established.[17][18] Vaucluse
1793 Organization the Maison Coignard is founded as a prison hospital.[19] Paris
1796 Organization Val-de-Grâce military hospital is founded.[20] Paris
1858 Organization Bégin Military Teaching Hospital is founded.[21] Paris
1864 Organization The French Red Cross (Croix-Rouge française) is founded as the national Red Cross Society in France.[22][23] Paris
1887 Organization The Pasteur Institute (Institut Pasteur) is founded as a non-profit private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. It is one of the world's most prestigious and renown. Over the years, it has been responsible for breakthrough discoveries that have enabled medical science to control such virulent diseases as diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, influenza, yellow fever, and plague.[24][25] Headquarters in Paris. Serves worldwide.
1897 Organization The Institut Biologique Mérieux (Mérieux Biological Institute) is founded as a health organization.[26][27]
1906 Organization The American Hospital of Paris is founded.[28][29] Neuilly-sur-Seine
1913 Organization Hôpital Paul-Brousse is established.[30][31] Villejuif
1915 Organization Hôpital Temporaire d'Arc-en-Barrois is founded as an emergency evacuation hospital during World War I. It is organized and staffed by British volunteers and served French soldiers.[32] Haute-Marne
1915 Organization The Scottish Women's Hospital at Royaumont is established.[33] Val-d'Oise
1920 Organization Curie Foundation is established. The following year, it is recognized as an institution of public interest.[34][35] Paris
1926 Organization Institut Gustave Roussy is founded. It is considered a world-leading cancer-research institute. It is a center for patient care, research and teaching, and patients with all types of cancer can be treated.[36] Villejuif
1928 Policy France launches a national health insurance. It covers salaried workers in industry and commerce whose wages are under a low ceiling.[4]
1936 Organization Raymond Poincaré University Hospital is founded.[37] Garches
1944 Allied invasion of occupied France. German authorities warn French doctors not to treat wounded Resistance members.[38]
1945 Policy A public health insurance program is established.[39] The French national health insurance is extended to all industrial and commercial workers and their families, irrespective of wage levels.[4]
1961 Policy The national health insurance covers farmers and agricultural workers.[4]
1964 Organization The Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) is established as the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. It is the only public research institution solely focused on human health and medical research in France.[40][41] Paris
1966 Policy Independent professionals are brought into the national health insurance.[4]
1968 Organization MEDICA is founded as a private health group specialized in the exploitation of global care facilities for dependent persons.[42][43] Issy-les-Moulineaux (headquarters). Serves in France and Italy
1970 Organization The Institut du Radium and the Curie Foundation merge to form Institut Curie, with its three missions of research, teaching, and treating cancer.[34][44] Paris
1973 Organization Droits des Non-Fumeurs is founded as a non-governmental organization in order to protect the rights of non-smokers in France.[45]
1974 Policy New law proclaims that national health insurance should be universal.[4]
1976 Policy Universal healthcare budget adjustment. Coverage of ambulance costs is reduced.[5]
1976 Organization The Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML) is founded as an immunology center. The CIML addresses all areas of contemporary immunology.[46] Marseille
1977 Policy Universal healthcare budget adjustment. Coverage of some medications is reduced. Some hospital beds are closed.[5]
1982 Policy Universal healthcare budget adjustment. Patients must pay a "moderating fee" of 20 francs (3 euros) out of pocket when they are hospitalized.[5]
1983 Organization Jean Minjoz Hospital is established.[47] Besançon
1983 Discovery Team led by French researchers Luc Montagnier, Jean-Claude Chermann and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi discover AIDS viruses, HIV1 and HIV2 at Pasteur Institute.[24] Paris
1984 Organization AIDES is founded as a non profit organization. It is dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS and defending the rights of people and communities affected by this disease.[48][49]
1984 Organization Réseau Sentinelles is founded as a network of general practitioners, working throughout the metropolitan regions of France. Its goal is to provide clinical surveillance for 14 health indicators.[50]
1985 Policy Universal healthcare budget adjustment. Coverage of some paramedical procedures is reduced.[5]
1985 Organization Pharmaciens Sans Frontières Comité International (PSFCI) is founded. It is the largest humanitarian association in the world specialized in the pharmaceutical sector. Founded and based in France, it has since evolved into an international organization.[51][52]
1985 Discovery Team led by Pierre Tiollais develops hepatitis B vaccine at Pasteur Institute. It is the first human vaccine obtained by genetic engineering from animal cells.[24][53] Paris
1986 Policy Universal healthcare budget adjustment. Healthcare payroll taxes is increased.[5]
1987 Policy Letters sent to the national health insurance must be stamped.[5]
1987 Organization The Faculté Libre de Médecines Naturelles et d'Ethnomédecine (FLMNE) is founded as a professional training organization.[54][55] Paris
1987 Organization The Institute of Environmental Medicine (IEM) is founded. It is dedicated to neuroscience research and consulting.[56][57]
1988 Policy Special tax on medication advertising is created to help fund healthcare.[5]
1989 Organization The French National AIDS Council (Conseil national du sida) is founded as an advisory body with aims at offering its views on the problems faced by society as a result of AIDS and making useful suggestions to the government.[58]
1990 Organization Sol En Si (Solidarité Enfants Sida, translated as Solidarity Children AIDS) is founded as a charity organization for helping children suffering from AIDS and their families.[59][60]
1990 Policy Contribution Sociale Généralisée (CSG) is introduced as new tax levied on all types of income to help fund healthcare.[5]
1991 Policy Supplementary income tax (5.5% of wages and all other earnings) raised specifically for the national health insurance, is introduced to make healthcare financing more progressive and to increase NHI revenues by enlarging the tax base.[4]
1992 Organization CRNHs is founded as a human nutrition clinical research center. CRNHs develops research programs in nutrition within the framework of national, European and international research programs, working with industry partners and researchers worldwide.[61] Auvergne
1998 Development The Carte Vitale is introduced as the health insurance card of the national healthcare system in France. It allows a direct settlement with the medical arm of the social insurance system.[62]
1998 Organization The Institut de veille sanitaire is established as a public establishment of the health minister. Its mission is to survey the public health and, if required (for example in the case of an epidemics), to alert the administration, health specialists and the whole of the population.[63]
1999 Policy New tax is levied on drug makers when their revenue exceeds a pre-defined level.[5]
2000 Policy Doctors are required to explain to the national health insurance why they granted a worker sick leave.[5]
2000 Policy The Couverture maladie universelle (CMU; Universal healthcare coverage) is launched as a public health program. It reimburses medical expenses through social security to all those legally resident in France for more than three months. For people on low incomes, the CMU also offers complementary health coverage of 100%, which is added to standard Social Security payments. Illegal aliens are entitled to healthcare via the Aide médicale d'Etat (AME, State medical aid).[64] This way, France covers the remaining 1% of its population that is uninsured and offers supplementary coverage to 8% of its population below an income ceiling.[4]
2000 Report The French healthcare system is ranked best in the world by the World Health Organization.[4]
2002 Organization Medtech is founded as a robotic surgery company.[65][66] Montpellier
2004 Organization The Louis Bonduelle Foundation is established. It acts internationally with the aim of changing eating habits in a sustainable manner, by providing everyone with the means of bringing vegetables into their daily life.[67][68] Serves in France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Canada.
2005 Policy The national health insurance deducts 1 euro off doctor consultation fees before it starts calculating how much it must reimburse patients.[5]
2005 Policy Reform puts in place a process of coordinated care. The patient first visits his/her médecin traitant (general practitioner). This physician is previously registered at the caisse d´assurance sociale as the one in charge of the coordination of care for the patient. In case the physician or his substitute is unavailable, the patient can consult another physician and inform his/her caisse d´assurance. The patient is free to change to another general practitioner but has to report the change.[39]
2006 Organization Cancer Campus is launched as a research and campus in oncology. It is devoted to help to fight cancer.[69][70] Villejuif
2006 Organization Axess Vision Technology is founded as a manufacturer of medical devices, mainly endoscopes.[71] Tours
2007 Organization Association Grégory Lemarchal is founded. The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of cystic fibrosis sufferers and their families by providing information, funding research, and increasing public awareness of cystic fibrosis.[72][73]
2008 Organization Santé Environnement France is founded as a non-governmental health and environmental organization. It works on several critical topics: air quality, climate change, biodiversity, electromagnetic waves, nutrition, gardening, sport, etc.[74]
2008 Program Bill HPST (Hospital, patients, health, territories) is launched as the first stage of the Hospital 2012 Plan, launched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which aims at revamping of the French healthcare system. The bill aims at guarantee a better and equal access to care for all French people, whatever their geographic location.[75]
2011 Organization The Electrophysiology and Heart Modeling Institute (Institut de Rythmologie et Modélisation Cardiaque) (LIRYC) is founded as a university hospital institution created as part of the investments in a program to boost medical research and innovation.[76][77] Pessac
2011 Organization The Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé (BIU Santé) is founded as a medical library. It offers collections in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and related sciences.[78][79]
2016 Policy New universal healthcare insurance system known as Protection Maladie Universelle (PUMA) is launched and replaces the old health insurance scheme Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). It grants all residents in France – including foreigners – easier access to health services. Individuals who are not covered by the PUMA or might want to increase their health coverage must apply private health insurance while living in France.[80]
2016 Report Life expectancy in France is estimated at 81.68 years, being ranked 14th out of 228 political subdivisions.[81]

See also[edit]


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