Posted Nov 30, 2022 5:38 PMUpdated Nov. 30, 2022, 7:03 p.m.
In the midst of the resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic, the French may have difficulty finding a doctor at the end of the week. The liberal practitioners are called to a strike this Thursday and Friday to obtain an increase in their remuneration.
Anger has been brewing for several months. It emanates in particular from the Doctors for Tomorrow movement. Born in September, this “non-union and apolitical” collective, claiming more than 15,000 members, deplores – among other things – very difficult working conditions, with very busy days, which dissuade young people from settling in cabinet.
“A real suffering at work”
His call to demonstrate was echoed by liberal unions. “The anger is extremely strong,” says Franck Devulder, president of the Confederation of French Medical Unions (CSMF). “Few doctors are unionized because they all have their heads in the handlebars, but what is certain is that there is real suffering at work and that even non-unionized people could go on strike” , says Natacha Regensberg de Andreis, general practitioner in Paris.
The movement follows the strike of hospital psychiatrists on Tuesday and adds to the new strike of biologists scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, in response to the savings plan of 250 million euros that the government wishes to impose on them.
Last resort requisitions
At a time when the hospital is overwhelmed by the bronchiolitis epidemic and when pediatricians are increasing the alerts, the movement has pushed the Samu Urgences de France union to seize the regional health agencies (ARS) to ensure a minimum service. “The returns received at this time are rather reassuring about the continuity of care”, indicates the ARS Ile-de-France, all the same evoking the possibility of requisitions “as a last resort”.
At the top of the concerns of the promoters of the liberal doctors’ strike is the question of remuneration. The subject is at the heart of the negotiations that the liberal doctors have just started to redefine the convention which binds them to Social Security.
In a context of high inflation, doctors expect an increase in the price of their acts. Especially since the last agreement dates back to 2016 and hospital caregivers benefited after the Covid-19 crisis from a massive revaluation plan (the “Ségur de la santé”). Unions are even demanding a doubling of the price of the basic consultation, to 50 euros.
Medicare says it is “ready to revalue the acts”, by the voice of its boss, Thomas Fatôme. But it relies on other methods of remunerating physicians to achieve objectives (patient follow-up, screening, effectiveness of prescriptions, etc.). But these are not all to the taste of the unions.
In addition, an increase in the price of the consultation will not go without consideration. “The question is ‘What else needs to be in place in terms of physician engagement?’ warns Thomas Fatôme.
Because the executive and the Medicare are counting in particular on the future medical convention to provide answers to the problems of medical deserts and the management of “unscheduled care” when hospital emergencies are overflowing.
The government has opposed parliamentary initiatives aimed at forcing the installation of doctors when they are unanimously against them in the profession. But he wants the lines to move.
“Duties” for doctors
“The convention is a tool that allows us both to be able to move forward in rights and duties,” said Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Health, during a meeting of the Association of Journalists of social information (Ajis).
The executive, which has already proposed to guide interns in the last year of general medicine studies in medical deserts, wants to encourage specialists to travel punctually to get closer to patients in need of a doctor, or to push doctors to city to do more guards. He also wants them to work more with other health professionals, even if it means sharing the tasks. Enough to promise multiple episodes of tension with the liberals in the coming months.