France's demoralised hospital workers take to streets

Striking staff march in Paris in protest over low pay and relentless pressure in emergency departments

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Demoralised French hospital workers are set to stage a demonstration in Paris, stepping up their long-running demands for more resources and improved staffing as part of an ongoing strike.

As the government is adding the final details to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn's widely criticised financial support plan, staff at hospitals, medical students, patients and carers from across the country are set to descend on Port-Royal in the capital for the march, which starts at 2pm, and protest outside the Senate building on Thursday afternoon.

The strikers say they face low pay and relentless pressure in 'saturated' A&E departments. ER visits have doubled in the past 20 years, according to Health Ministry figures. In 2016, the last year for which figures are available, emergency unit doctors treated nearly 21million patients

Read more: French emergency hospital staff strike intensifies

Emergency room workers have complained that a series of closures and budget cuts in recent years have pushed the country’s hospitals to an “unprecedented breaking point”. They are demanding the government create 10,000 new jobs and increase salaries by €300 per month to help ease the strain.

They say the Health Minister's €70million scheme unveiled in September do not go far enough to address the real issues facing France's straining health system.

As reported, the plans include €55million to cover the cost of a monthly bonus of €100 for “all emergency room personnel [except doctors], and €15million to help pay for healthcare cover in emergency departments during the summer months.