France's doctors protest excruciating work conditions amid high demand
With the surge of winter-related illnesses, the demand for medical care has increased beyond capacity for GPs and nurses.
BBC News reported on Wednesday that France's medical healthcare system has been hanging in the midst of a crisis as the government struggles to implement crucial reforms to improve hospital funding and relieve doctors and nurses from administrative burdens.
President Macron promised to revamp the entire sector and break what he called "a sense of endless crisis".
But recent efforts failed to bring about the desired results. For instance, Macron gave €50,000 gave bonuses for GPs in under-served areas and ended a cap on the number of medical students in France - all to no avail.
With the surge of winter-related illnesses, the demand for medical care has increased beyond the capacity for GPs and nurses.
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The demand was so excruciating that medical staff even dubbed this particular month "Black January."
With inflation adding up to years of Covid, staff shortages and overwhelming demands have made work conditions unbearable for workers in the medical sector.
Some hospitals even report that up to 90% of their staffers are on "sick leave" to protest these brutal conditions.
The second largest health union in France FO-Santé has called for an indefinite strike this week after several GPs announced they were on strike for the past couple of weeks.
FO-Santé, (2e syndicat de la fonction publique hospitalière), appelle à la "grève illimitée" à partir du 10 janvier pour dénoncer la dégradation "sans précédent" du système de santé et "la mise en danger de nombre de patients et d'agents hospitaliers épuisés"— Ana19587 la Liberté n'a pas de prix. (@anouk1818) January 5, 2023
La Vérité Censurée pic.twitter.com/HtF1FMLepJ
Some of the people interviewed by BBC at a rally of GPs this week said they would rather want to work in the UK because being rich there automatically grants access to better medical services and better pay conditions.
But just as is the case in the UK, hospitals are partly funded by the government relative to the procedures they carry out.
Macron has previously said he wanted to establish a funding model based on jointly agreed health objectives, yet it is unclear how that would concretize in practical settings.
He also promised to recruit more medical assistants and allocate some tasks to pharmacists and nurses for GPs to have more time for consultations.
But it is still unclear how that would tackle one of the country's biggest healthcare issues which remains that of rural and suburban France which barely have access to medical experts at all.
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