Introducing AFPEP-SNPP by Gérard Bles

Since its creation, the National Society of Psychiatrists in Private Practice (S.N.P.P.) has been gathering practitioners who share not only specific terms of practice, be it independent or institutional, but also a conception of medical care that favours patients’ personal destiny, keeping out of the concerns of a social order for which maintenance they have not received any priority mission, even though they do take into account the socio-economic repercussions of the disease. Four years of a clinic, theoretical and ethic reflection within the French Association of Private Psychiatrists led up to the creation of the S.N.P.P. and founded its raison d'être that is to integrate in the daily medical and social reality, the principles of independence drawn from this reflection.

However, this independence is not that obvious insofar as we are involved, day after day, in power struggles with our regulating bodies, through the conventional system and also a set of statutory devices that sometimes disregard the real needs for health care, needs which extent and diversity we, through our practice, are best qualified to measure.

Therefore, we must stand by this independence every inch of the way, by reasserting at every step the primacy of health care over administrative and economic concerns – which does not mean that we want to ignore the socio-economic constraints of the community of which we are members. This is the reason why today we want free access to medical care and strict confidentiality, for our patients who are entitled to it, to be reaffirmed as well as the autonomy of the medical approach in the institutions where our intervention is needed.

Yesterday the very existence of private psychiatry as such was the issue at stake. Today, though it cannot be questioned any longer, even though it has become, in its forms of practice, a reference model for the discipline, lacks of comprehension perpetuate which we must keep on questioning. Is it then acceptable that psychiatrists’ demography is forced to a decline whereas, at the same time, there is much concern about the public/private imbalance and the lack of availabilities in psychotherapeutic caring ? We have no choice but to plunge into this new fray and tackle some epidemiology works where our contribution may be invaluable insofar as we are given the means for it.

In the social and economic context of restrictions that we experience, National Society tasks increase. And the most “elementary” one remains to give each psychiatrist the opportunity to live decently on his/her practice, as far as value of our consultation act, practice standards or, in a different field, collective conventions governing our salaried practice, are concerned.

The whole of your National Society team devotes itself to this task and dedicates assiduity and even passion to it. But its strength essentially results from your support and participation, and from all the exchanges that we share.

July 1999
Gérard BLES *
AFPEP-SNPP former President

*Gérard Bles has tirelessly worked for more than 25 years in order for this double association to exist and to live, and for private psychiatry to be recognised as pertinent and honourable.