French medics protest hospital crisis, deepened by COVID

Jun 7, 2022, 5:20 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 9:55 am
A man passes by electoral posters reading "Melenchon Prime Minister" in Lyon, central France, Tuesd...

A man passes by electoral posters reading "Melenchon Prime Minister" in Lyon, central France, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. The legislative elections will take place on June 12 and 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

PARIS (AP) — Health workers protested Tuesday around France to demand more hiring and better salaries in public hospitals, after years of cost cuts that left medics submerged when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and are now forcing emergency rooms to cut services.

Nine unions and collectives organized a day of protest, including a demonstration outside the Health Ministry in Paris and in dozens of other towns and cities, to call the government’s attention to growing concerns about staff shortages.

President Emmanuel Macron has promised a rethink of the public hospital system and commissioned an urgent review by July 1. Protesters hope to pressure the government as France heads into two rounds of legislative elections starting Sunday.

“We need an emergency plan for public hospitals today, with massive hiring … We also want a pay rise. We are the least paid in Europe,” said Nathalie Marchand, a personnel assistant at Paris’ Saint Louis hospital.

She was among several hundred health workers who demonstrated outside the Health Ministry.

Demonstrations were held elsewhere in France, including in Cherbourg, where Macron visited a hospital last week to announce his “flash mission” to work to bolster saturated emergency services.

“How could Emmanuel Macron, call an urgent review when there have been shortages for so long?” said Rachid Ouchem, a psychological assistant.

Ouchem is among those who would like to see the rehiring of around 15,000 health workers who lost their jobs for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it would be an immediate answer to the long process of eventually training new hospital staff.

Macron’s government offered slight salary boosts to some hospital workers last year and authorized new equipment, but medics say the problems are deeper. Years of gradual cost cuts left France’s once-renowned public health care system understaffed and ill-prepared when the pandemic hit. Morale was already low among many medics, and some have quit the profession. Others are still reeling from the challenges of treating successive waves of COVID-19 patients.

An emergency medics’ group, Samu-Urgences de France, calculated last month that more than 100 emergency facilities have either already limited services are plan to because of staff shortages.

Despite the crisis situation, the Paris demonstration failed to attract huge throngs of protesters.

“The public hospital is the common good,” said Ouchem, encouraging health professionals and others to mobilize. “Anybody could be at the hospital or in an ER tomorrow.”

He added, “For two years, hospitals only stand thanks to health workers.”


Jade Le Deley contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
2 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
10 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
10 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
17 days ago
A young bison calf stands in a pond with its herd at Bull Hollow, Okla., on Sept. 27, 2022. The cal...
Associated Press

US aims to restore bison herds to Native American lands after near extinction

U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
17 days ago
Children play in a dried riverbed in Flassans-sur-Issole, southern France, Wednesday, March 1, 2023...
Associated Press

Italy, France confront 2nd year of western Europe drought

ROME (AP) — Bracing for Italy’s second consecutive year of drought for the first time in decades, Premier Giorgia Meloni huddled with ministers Wednesday to start mapping out an action plan Wednesday, joining France and other nations in western Europe grappling with scant winter rain and snow. Meloni and her ministers decided to appoint an […]
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
French medics protest hospital crisis, deepened by COVID