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Staffing issue in hospitals upsets French healthcare workers

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PARIS, FRANCE: Health sector workers gather to protest demanding a raise of wages and enhancing of their working conditions in Paris, France on January 5, 2023. (Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency)
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Jan 06, 2023 - 02:25 AM

PARIS (AA) – The lack of personnel in the healthcare sector in France and long waiting hours in emergency units have been upsetting the staff and the patients, according to some hospital staff who spoke to Anadolu Agency.

The country has been suffering from a “triple epidemic” of coronavirus, flu, and bronchiolitis. The number of patients increased in the emergency departments, causing long waiting periods.

Medicine shortage has also worsened in France, with some medicines for children becoming harder to find due to supply issues.

General practitioners, considered the second pillar of the French health care system, are on strike since Dec. 26, 2022, demanding better working conditions and fee raises.

The SUD-Sante union in Paris’ biggest hospital Pitie-Salpetriere sent an official statement to the Labor Inspection Directorate and the managers of two health institutions, explaining the consequences of the lack of beds and personnel and reporting the results of the absence of workers who suffer from work accidents or illnesses.

Situation worsens in hospitals in winter and in summer

Lina Nejjari, a diabetes nurse at Gonesse Hospital in Val-d’Oise, told Anadolu Agency that the lack of personnel has persisted for years, and that its results have been more tangible with the COVID-19 pandemic.

She added that the situation worsens during the holiday seasons and that the entire staff has to overwork.

Nejjari also said patients can wait up to five to 10 hours in emergency units.

The triple epidemic also hit the staff and some workers had to go to work despite the fever, according to the nurse.

She told that nightshift wages were increased to encourage staff to do overwork.

Amandine Chouf, a 29-year-old emergency doctor who worked as an intern for four years in Rhone and Reunion, went on leave in October 2022.

She said that last summer, they managed to regulate the intensity in emergency services by guiding the patients whose cases were not urgent, while the spread of COVID-19, flu, and other viruses has aggravated the situation.

General Secretary of CGT Union in Delafontaine Hospital, Abdelhak Zombo, said employees stopped counting their overwork hours.

He said they have been trying to explain the chronic problem to authorities for 20 years, and added that some workers are now resigning.

Zombo recalled that French President Emmanuel Macron has consoled the national football team player Kylian Mbappe after the World Cup defeat in Qatar.

“I would love to see Macron consoling the healthcare staff,” he said, adding that some of his colleagues are working up to 70 hours per week.


*Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara

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