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Doctors'pay talks break down

Unions quarrel as health minister bids to introduce incentives for GPs to set up in areas with poor medical cover

TALKS on a new pay and conditions deal between doctors and the Assurance Maladie have broken down after an argument between the unions over their representatives.

Two unions, the CSMF and the SML, which represent 60% of the médecins libéraux, pulled out of the meeting at the Cnam headquarters in Paris objecting to the presence of student doctors with the MG France delegation, representing GPs.

The talks, which are intended to put together a five year deal on conditions and pay, had been stalled for two years.

Health minister Xavier Bertrand laughed off the “drama” of the new stalemate and said that the negotiations would ultimately be successful. He said the new convention would provide incentives for young doctors to set up in the déserts médicaux in rural areas and suburbs which have a great shortage of medical professionals.

He said that 90% of young doctors coming in to the profession did not know what incentives were available but added that he wanted “more coherent” system with an extra payment for doctors working in such areas, either by an extra sum for each consultation or a new method of payment.

Mr Bertrand is also looking at extra measures which would persuade older doctors nearing retirement to consider staying on.

He has ruled out any measures to coerce doctors to move to the areas with poor medical cover.

Assurance Maladie director Frédéric Van Roekeghem has given the unions two weeks to get back to the negotiating table. He wants to have a deal agreed by the end of June.

The CSMF was upset that interns’ representatives were in the negotiations despite having objected to their presence at an earlier meeting. MG France claimed that the CSMF wanted to negotiate alone.

Photo: Aline Campbell - Fotolia

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