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More GP strikes expected in France after proposed fee rise is rejected

Unions say the proposal of an increase from €25 to €26.50 for a standard consultation is ‘not acceptable’ after months of negotiations

More strikes are likely after major unions rejected proposals after more talks with the Assurance maladie Pic: RVillalon / Shutterstock

More GP strikes are expected to take place in France after two major unions rejected proposals put forward by the Assurance maladie after long negotiations this weekend.

The unions MG France and Avenir-Spé Le Bloc, which bring together GPs and specialists, unanimously rejected proposals on how consultations would take place over the next five years.

The deadline to come to an agreement is tomorrow (February 28). In order for the proposals to go through at least 30% of GPs and 30% of specialists must be in favour.

Union president Dr Agnès Giannotti, a GP in the 18th arrondissement in Paris, said: “This is historic. They said that we ‘have to engage’, which suggests that we don’t normally. And that’s completely unacceptable for our profession.

“We don’t get rights and responsibilities…just responsibilities and responsibilities,” she said.

In early February, Assurance Maladie suggested that the price of a standard doctor consultation should rise from €25 to €26.50 which was seen as a “provocation” by the health professionals. Most of this fee is reimbursed for people who are in the French health system.

It also requested a condition that the coverage of doctors throughout the country should be improved.

Dr Giannotti had wanted the consultation fee to rise to at least €30 and for there to be no geographical requirements for doctors. These demands do not figure in the proposals.

She said: “No-one will sign this.”

Other doctors had been requesting the fee be raised to €50.

Health Minister François Braun has said that while the government is doing all it can to satisfy the demands, the unions are not returning its efforts.

More GP strikes to come?

President of specialist union Avenir-Spé Le Bloc, Dr Patrick Gasser, told the AFP: “We did what we could but it failed. The government must take responsibility.” He said that the proposals put forward were simply “not acceptable”.

The union statements come after four months of negotiations. Other unions in the sector have not yet published responses to the new proposals, but it is likely that they will oppose them too.

It is now expected that more GP strikes could be announced.

The Fédération des médecins de France (FMF), the Confédération des syndicats médicaux français (CSMF) and the Syndicat des médecins libéraux (SML) are all opposed to the geographical contract for GPs, which they say leads to inequality between doctors for similar work.

It comes after GPs went on strike in December and in early February as part of ongoing calls for higher consultation fees and less requirement to do so-called “useless tasks” that take doctors away from seeing patients. 

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