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GP surgeries and creches closed

Doctors are on strike today calling for a fee rise, while creche workers protest against changes to the childcare system

GPs and creche workers are back on strike today for the third time so far this year.

Several doctors' surgeries will be closed after four unions, including the biggest groups MG France and the CSMF, called the one-day walkout.

Doctors are fighting for a €1 rise in the standard consultation fee, from €22 to €23, to boost salaries, improve resources and employ extra staff.

Some surgeries have increased the fee without consent, prompting legal action from the Assurance Maladie.

In most of these cases, the Tribunal des Affaires de Sécurité Sociale has ruled against the doctors, but one judgment in Grenoble last month in favour of nine GPs is being watched closely.

It is being appealed by the Assurance Maladie in France's highest court, the cour de cassation, and a ruling is expected later today.

Meanwhile, several creches will be closed today or running a bare minimum level of service due to a strike.

Workers and unions are calling on the government to scrap new measures increasing creche capacities and reducing the legal minimum of fully qualified staff on the premises.

The government says the reforms are necessary to "respond to families' needs" and cope with demand. It has written to 10,000 creches to explain the changes, which are due to come into force within weeks.

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