French healthcare workers on strike over hospital bed closures

Patients urged to check if appointments have been cancelled

Staff are also on strike over poor working conditions, especially in public hospitals

Healthcare professionals across France are on strike today (June 11) claiming poor levels of patient care in hospitals. 

Workers in both public and private hospitals (which supplement public healthcare services) have joined the action.

Multiple hospital services may be impacted, including outpatients care, mental health and psychiatry wards, and accident and emergency units (urgences).

Strike action may see patients face longer waiting times today to access services, and those with scheduled appointments should contact the hospital to check if it has been cancelled.

At the time of writing, the number of workers who are on strike has not been published. 

Hospital workers, like certain other public sector workers (including teachers at maternelles primary schools) need to announce their intention to strike in advance, to make sure a minimum service is maintained. 

However, the hospital administration does not need to declare this information to the public.

Read more: UPDATED: Strikes in France in June 2024 and how you may be impacted

Bed closures are primary concern

Action was called by the health branches of the CGT, FO and SUD unions, the latter of which filed a strike motion lasting throughout the month of June for its members. 

Staff are striking over a number of issues, the largest of these being the closure of beds across numerous hospitals, leading to shortages and long waiting times for both walk-in patients and those needing longer stretches of care. 

At Tours public hospital (CHU Tours), 26 hospital beds in the psychiatry ward will be closed by the end of 2024, with the first spaces being removed from Monday, July 8, local media France Bleu reports.

Workers in public hospitals are also striking over low pay and poor working conditions, and plans to introduce a ‘merit-based’ pay system, which, said CGT spokeswoman Chantal Berthélémy, would cause conflicts between healthcare professionals at major institutions.

Other demands include “a reaffirmation of the role of public hospitals and the development of a network of local hospitals” and “the creation of ‘public health centres, giving them a pivotal role in the primary care and prevention system,” said the unions. 

Read more: CONFIRMED: €30 fee to see a doctor in France from December 2024

Health Minister Frédéric Valletoux is set to meet with hospital workers’ unions today to create a series of ‘multiannual plans’ regarding access to healthcare. 

As of June 11, there are no plans for further days of action, however more action may be called depending on the outcome of this meeting between the government and healthcare sector.