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French general practitioners’ strike action still strong on second day

Private doctors protested on 23 December in Lyon against a new bill by the French Health Ministry.
Private doctors protested on 23 December in Lyon against a new bill by the French Health Ministry. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK

The GPs’ strike action against the Health Ministry’s new bill has not waned on its second day, the confederation of the unions of French doctors (CSMF) announced Thursday.

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Seventy to 80 percent of doctors were expected to participate in the strike on Wednesday, the CSMF wrote in a statement.

"On this second day of rallying, the CSMF’s and the private doctors’ determination, even if they are deprived of Christmas, remains intact and with a unique goal: to obtain real lasting progress for the profession,” the confederation added.

The unions representing private doctors expect the movement to grow even stronger towards the end of the year.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Wednesday that the strike had not increased the influx of patients in the hospitals’ emergency services.

The minister added that “the given number of people on strike should be looked at with a great deal of caution” for two reasons: “GPs are not required to declare the fact they are going on strike and some cabinets are closed anyway during the holidays”.

GPs are demanding for an increase from 23 to 25 euros of their medical consultations and for a rewriting, if not a complete withdrawal of the bill that should be debated in Parliament next Spring.

Earlier this week, French emergency doctors had also gone on strike to protest against the bill but soon found an agreement with the Health Ministry.

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