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The small town of Montargis is only 100 kilometers south of Paris, but for many of its inhabitants it might as well be on the dark side of the moon when it comes to seeing a doctor or a dentist.Local communities have been encouraged to hold town-hall meetings to discuss how things could be improved, and in this 15,000-strong town and many others, one of the hot topics is the lack of doctors.France counts some 220,000 doctors, twice as many as in 1980, according to official figures.In Paris, for example, there are about 798 doctors for every 100,000 inhabitants, but in the Montargis area the number drops to 76 general practitioners for 100,000 people – the lowest ratio in the nation.In the early 2000s, around 3,500 doctors graduated every year, but only 8 percent chose general medicine.In Montargis, there is only one hospital for 150,000 people living in the area that it is supposed to serve, and while 130 doctors work there, emergency services are still overwhelmed.
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