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France

Strike of liberal doctors: a “warning shot” to “save” the profession



Thousands of liberal doctors and biologists closed practices and laboratories on Thursday and Friday, some to demand price increases, others to protest against a drain on their profits.

“I do replacements all over the place, and that doesn’t make me want to settle down,” testifies Julien Rogowski, 30, general practitioner in Alsace.

Arnaud Saada, 39, living in Essonne, laments: “I refuse a dozen patients a day, it’s abominable”.

Double the consultation

This “historic movement” was initiated by the young collective “Doctors for tomorrow”, which in a few weeks gathered nearly 15,000 members on Facebook, a symptom of an anger that is spreading among the 110,000 liberal practitioners in practice.

With the demand for the doubling of the price of the consultation (from 25 to 50 euros), this group has rallied the unions to its cause. They see it as a way to influence the open negotiations with Health Insurance for a new agreement for the next five years.

A thousand demonstrators in Paris

The pressure also passes through the street, with rallies organized in the big cities. In Toulouse, as in Rennes and Marseille, around 200 people gathered. In Nantes, they were 450, while in Corsica a third of the 300 liberal doctors of the island had declared themselves strikers.

In Paris, the white coats were “a good thousand”, according to the organizers, in front of the Ministry of Health. At the microphone, the president of the FMF union, Corinne Le Sauder, affirmed that “giving resources to liberal medicine is also saving the hospital”.

“75% to 80%” of practices closed

“Fifty euros, that may seem completely crazy, but it’s a point on the horizon to approach the European average” of the consultation fee, around 45 euros, argues Jérôme Marty, from the UFML union, advancing ” 75% to 80%” of practices closed, when the Doctors for Tomorrow collective lists “more than 10,000”.

Figures to “take with hindsight”, relativizes Thomas Fatôme, who awaits reimbursement data “at the very beginning of next week” to “measure the reality of the movement”. The boss of Health Insurance, however, tells AFP “to take seriously” the expectations of doctors, both “on their working conditions” and in terms of remuneration.

A “shock of attraction”

But if he intends to “propose upgrades” in the context of the negotiations, he also wishes to “meet the expectations of the population” in terms of access to care. However, doubling the consultation to 50 euros would cost Social Security 7 billion euros, whereas with the various packages paid to practitioners, they already receive 35 euros on average per procedure.

The unions present the rise in prices as a “shock of attractiveness” towards city medicine in dire need of staff, crushed by administrative tasks to the detriment of care, and which no longer attracts young people.

Call for a “hard and unlimited strike from December 26”

“If we are not heard, we will call for a hard and unlimited strike from December 26”, already warns Doctors for tomorrow.

“The door is far from being closed”, reacted the Minister of Health, François Braun, assuring that “nothing is taboo” about tariffs, “as soon as there are commitments” opposite for “so that each of our fellow citizens can have a doctor, in particular the most fragile” and in order to “ensure the continuity of care” evenings and weekends.

“90 to 95%” of laboratories on strike

Doctors are not alone in this movement. Pointed out for their record profits linked to covid-19 tests, the analysis laboratories refuse them the puncture of 250 million euros per year included in the Social Security budget.

“This blow of the plane will lead to the closure of local laboratories”, alarmed François Blanchecotte (Biologists’ Union), on behalf of a profession which employs 52,000 employees and could lose 400 of its 4,200 sites according to him.

The sector, which claims “90 to 95%” of laboratories on strike, has offered to “return” 685 million euros over four years, or “nearly 80%” of its profits since 2020.

His mobilization will last not two but three days, Saturday included. “If the government does not take the opportunity to dialogue, its stubbornness will force us to (…) take even more serious and difficult to bear measures”, threatened François Blanchecotte.



letelegramme Fr Trans

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