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French GPs’ strike action getting stronger in its second week

General practitioners demonstrating in the French city of Lyon on 23 December 2014.
General practitioners demonstrating in the French city of Lyon on 23 December 2014. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK

The French emergency association of doctors – SOS Médecins – joined Monday the week-long general practitioners’ strike, increasing the number of mobilized against the Health Ministry’s new bill.

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SOS Médecins has asked its approximate 1,000 doctors to stop working as of Monday to protest against the increased power given to the managers of regional health agencies in this new bill.

According to the association, this bill gives these managers the right to say there is no need for GPs during the night, thus orienting patients towards emergency services.

SOS Médecins joins a movement that has already gathered many people from the medical field.

Emergency doctors had begun the strike on Monday 22 December to ask for better working conditions but had called it off after just one day, after reaching an agreement with the government.

GPs had then decided to carry on the strike on Tuesday to ask for an increase from 23 to 25 euros of their medical consultations and a rewriting if not a complete withdrawal of the bill.

The doctors claim the important mobilization since 23 December increased the influx of patients in the hospitals’ emergency services, but the ministry says the situation is stable and under control.

According to the union of GPs MG France, 40 to 80 percent of general practitioners will close their cabinets in the coming days. CSMF, another union, says more than 80 percent of private doctors have mobilized so far.

The strike is supposed to end on 31 December but the unions are already saying the movement will go on.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine should meet the GPs’ representatives on 12 January.

However, the union MG France is already asking doctors to close their cabinets on 6 January.

 

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