Is the French Military Health Service Taking a Risk With Strategic Plans?

In 2013, the French Health Service (SSA) embarked on a strategic plan. This plan aimed at responding to and a proposed staffing cut by 2000. Part of this plan involved reconfiguring health schools and redefining the role of eight teaching hospitals (HIA).

Original Plan for HIAs

The original design intended for four out of eight HIAs to maintain fundamental handling of casualties and emergency medical evacuations. The remaining four were expected to function closely like their civilian counterparts, albeit with lesser resources.

Suspension of the Plan

There were concerns that the plan was over-ambitious and could compromise the SSA's inherent capacity. Consequently, the implementation was put on hold. In October 2021, the Ministry of Armed Forces called attention to a botched partnership agreement with civilian hospitals involving one of the HIAs. This change prompted resistance due to its potential effect on regional units and formations, leading to its suspension by the new Minister of Armed Forces in anticipation of the Military Programming Law (LPM) 2024-30.

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Approved SSA Roadmap

Later in the same month, a new SSA roadmap got approval. The earlier mentioned HIA is not set to become a “hospital antenna” as initially thought. Instead, it will evolve into a “specialized military hospital” focusing on the physical and psychological care of the injured.

Classification of SSA Hospitals

Under the new plan, SSA hospitals will be classified into three categories. Bordeaux HIA will match the status of Lyon HIA. Meanwhile, Brest and Metz HIAs will transition into “regional military teaching hospitals” while the remaining four HIAs will be termed “national military teaching hospitals”.

Future of Military Hospital Capacity

A “new generation” national military teaching hospital is set for construction in Marseille as a representation of future military hospital capacity.

Objectives of the New Roadmap

The fundamental goal of the new plan is to remodel the hospitals to meet new strategic . Listed priorities include catering to the armed forces' needs and casualty care, training surgical teams to ensure a full, independent operational health chain, consolidating centers of excellence and expertise, and revamping the collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, especially in large-scale operations.

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