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Protests to put dozens of French hospitals at risk of partial closure

Locum healthcare workers plan walkouts over proposed changes to pay

Supply workers reject the government’s plans to cap their pay, with a walkout planned for April 3 Pic: ricochet64/ Shutterstock

Dozens of hospitals in France may be forced to partially close from Monday (April 3) as locum healthcare workers protest plans to cap their pay.

Workers across emergency departments, anaesthetist care and psychiatry oppose plans to cap their income at €1,170 gross per day. 

France Health Minister François Braun’s proposals are part of measures designed to fight current laws that mean that locum staff (who fill in for permanent staff) can sometimes earn up to three times more for the same hours. 

News magazine Le Point - using data from the replacement doctors’ union le Syndicat national des médecins remplaçants hospitaliers (SNMRH) - reported that, as a result, 69 hospitals could be affected by partial closures from April 3.

Hospital workers have accused locum staff of being “cannibals”. Supply workers, meanwhile, say they are the ones keeping hospitals running.

The change and subsequent opposition could affect 107 hospital services and elderly care homes. Closures are expected to affect all regions and could include maternity centres, elderly care home nurses, and operating theatres.

A participating doctor told Capital: “Closures will take place in many places because temporary workers work everywhere. The government no longer wants to make us work at appropriate prices. 

“It will soon realise how important we are to keeping hospitals running.”

France’s health ministry said it wants “to find solutions on a case-by-case basis”, but has said it is “alarmed” by the threat of so many closures. 

Staffing shortages in French hospitals have long been a point of contention, with many strikes and protests taking place last year, and staff calling the current situation “disastrous”.

Hospital services and elderly care homes that could be affected:

Saint-Quentin, Amiens, Bar-sur-Aube, Bélizal et Argoat, Bergerac, Blois, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Bourges, Cavaillon, Cherbourg, Mende, Millau, Montbrison, Montluçon, Morlaix, Moulins-Yzeure, Nemours, Neufchâteau, Nevers, Vire, Orange, Pont-Audemer, Pontivy, Pontorson, Rodez, Rouen, Les Sables-d'Olonne, Saint-Omer, Allonnes, and Seclin.

The hospital centres of the following towns may also be affected:

Sud de Seine-et-Marne, Forcilles, Sisteron, Saint-Étienne, Thionville, Vauclaire, Vernon, Villefranche, Vitré, Le Havre, Lens, Libourne, Lillebonne, Luçon, Manosque, Marseille, CHU Mayenne and Saint Lô, Corse, Digne, Le Tréport, Évreux, Fécamp, Feurs, Forez, Granville, Grasse, Guéret, Hirson, Pontoise, Issoudun, La Mure, La Sarthe-et-Loir, Lannion, Laval, and Layne Mont-de-Marsan.

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