Occupational physician’s initial training
The practice of occupational medicine in France requires a doctor’s diploma completed by a specific university degree in occupational health. Since the last Reform in Occupational Medicine in 2011, the occupational physician manages a team of experts in health and safety at work.
According to the French Labour code (article L4623-1) the occupational doctor must have a specific diploma in health at work.
The occupational physician is a medical doctor specialized in occupational health. The 6 years initial studies at the university to become a doctor are completed by 4 years at the university to become specialist in public health. At the end a diploma is conferred : DES, Diplôme d’études spécialisées de médecine du travail.
However a physician can become an occupational physician and obtain the diploma, DES, Diplôme d’études spécialisées de médecine du travail, through a competition called “Concours spécial de l’internat en médecine du travail”.
This competition (“Le concours spécial de l’internat européen”) allows a doctor to change his medical speciality.
Since the last reform, the French Labour code modified another article (article R. 4623-2) which allows a physician to work in an occupational health service even non holding the diploma “DES, Diplôme d’études spécialisées de médecine du travail”. In this case the physician is called “collaborateur médecin” and benefits from a continuous training in health at work : a few days per year during 4 years at the university.
It should be known that there are less and less occupational physicians in France. Indeed so few specialists have been trained in the past decades (the same as ophthalmologists, obstetrician/Gynecologists, etc).
Currently there are about 5 500 active occupational physicians in France (vs 6 500 occupational physicians in 2006)
The occupational physician necessary works in an occupational health service, he is an employee.
According to the French Labour code( article L4623-3 ), the occupational physician is a full time employee. But in reality many occupational physicians work on part-time.