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Why GPs in France are threatening to strike in December

by Ozva Admin

Thousands of independent physicians (liberal general practitioners) across France are threatening to strike and close their practices on December 1 and 2 in protest of a lack of doctors, increasing time pressures and what they call a general “lack of resources”.

A statement from the Confédération des syndicats medicaux français (CSMF) union says: “There is no health without doctors, there are no doctors without resources.”

Dr. Luc Duquesnel, president of the CSMF GP section and general practitioner in Mayenne with more than 30 years of experience, told Capital that the “movement will be massive”, although no official figures have been released on the number of doctors hoping to join the strike. It is believed that in some areas, all GP practices could be closed on strike days.

If your GP’s consultation is affected and in an emergency, it is recommended that you call 15, where alternatives will be indicated.

The idea for the strike developed out of the creation of a Facebook group called Médecins pour demain, which now has almost 14,000 members.

GP demands

The demands of the doctors include:

  • A payment of €30 per consultation, instead of the €25 paid today

  • A payment of €60 for the elderly or those suffering from a long-term illness.

  • More doctors and resources to avoid time pressures and too many patients per doctor

  • Greater recognition of the increasing number of chronic diseases due to an aging population, which take longer to assess and treat

  • Combined retirement and employment benefits, and an old-age allowance (supplementary vieillesse (ASV) calculated according to inflation

Dr. Duquesnel said: “When I started in 1988, I did six appointments an hour. Now I am late even when I have three consultations per hour”.

He said his ability to see patients had been cut in half due to the complexity of patient cases, including those with asthma, diabetes or other chronic conditions “often at the same time,” he said.

doctors and nurses

Doctors are also protesting against proposed government plans to transfer certain responsibilities to other health professionals.

For example, the Social Security Financing Bill (social security financing project (PLFSS)) by 2023, plans to give senior nurses (infirmiers in advanced practice (IPA)) the ability to offer recipes for ongoing issues.

Doctors say they fear this will cause a decline in the quality of medical care.

Instead, Dr. Duquesnel calls for better coordination of doctors and nurses, and he used his own medical surgery as an example.

He said: “We no longer have a doctor who works alone. We have a salaried IPA serving 600 patients and that’s great. I have 170 chronically ill but stable patients under his care, but we talk five to six times a day about his cases.”

The GP also sees these patients when they make appointments for problems unrelated to their chronic conditions. For example, even if an asthmatic who usually receives care from the IPA makes an appointment for gastroenteritis, the GP (not the IPA) will see him.

The doctor is also skeptical about government plans to offer “direct access” to speech therapists and physiotherapists. He called the proposal a “bombastic solution” and said waiting times for appointments with these professionals were already too long.

He said: “In my area, you have to wait six months to get an appointment with a speech therapist. We hardly have physiotherapists”. This is true even for people who have suffered serious illnesses, such as a stroke, he said.

It comes as some GPs have also been taking part in strikes by medical students against the proposed fourth year of internship during training at the medical school.

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