30 mayors resign over planned A&E closure

Clamecy, in Nièvre

Elected officials in Burgundy protest over planned closure of overnight emergency care in Nièvre commune that would leave locals facing 45-minute drive for urgent treatment

Thirty Burgundian mayors have resigned in protest over the planned closure of overnight emergency services at a hospital in Nièvre.

The officials also staged a demonstration against the end of night-time emergency healthcare at Clamecy hospital.

A decision on the department's future is due to be made in June, but protesters say that if the closure is confirmed, the nearest A&E department that is open 24 hours a day will be at Auxerre, a 45-minute drive away, or Nevers, which is an hour away.

The mayor of Festigny in the Yonne, Michèle Donzel-Bourjade, told Francetvinfo that she was unwilling to resign but supported the movement and will go to the demonstration on Thursday. "I was a nurse in the Paris hospitals. I don't know if the word profitability goes with the humanisation of hospitals."

Meanwhile, residents of Varzy would face an hour's drive, the town's mayor Gilles Noël said. "This is unacceptable. The rural Republic can no longer feel neglected like this."

Burgundy's hospitals are facing a shortage of 200 emergency doctors, according to the Agence régionale de santé (ARS). It proposes closing smaller centres, such as the one at Clamecy, to spread services more evenly across the region.

Across France, a total 67 emergency departments are at risk of partial closure, including - in Burgundy alone - Decize and Clamecy in Nièvre, Avallon and Tonnerre in the Yonne.

In the same region, the ARS closed the Montbard emergency department in Côte-d'Or between 8pm and 8am in 2015. A year later, it closed permanently and all services were transferred to Châtillon-sur-Seine, a 30-minute drive away.

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