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French doctors call for another strike

French doctors on strike, Lyon, 23 Decembre 2014.
French doctors on strike, Lyon, 23 Decembre 2014. AFP Photo/Jean-Philippe Ksiazek

French (general practitioners (GPs) and specialists are to launch another strike this Monday over health reforms that they say would make them victims of state red tape.

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Patients currently pay for each consultation and get reimbursed from the state health service and insurance schemes.

Under the new health bill there would be no up-front payment and doctors would have to claim their fees back from the social security and private insurance companies.

Doctors say they'll become dependent on some 500 different insurance companies, increasing red tape and delays in payments.

"Today we’re continuing our mobilisation but in the form of an administrative strike. We’re going to flood the social security with paperwork - sick leave forms, preferred doctor forms qnd we’ll send in some handwritten treatment forms rather than transmitting them electronically," said Jean-paul Ortiz, president of the Confederation of French Medical Unions.

"We don’t want to penalise patients so we’ll do this only for those who can afford to wait a bit longer for reimbursement. The idea is to encumber the social security dept with the kind of red tape they’re imposing on us," he added after a week long strike in December for the same reasons.

The health minister Marisol Touraine has called the strike irresponsible and says she stands by the reform to introduce a "free at the point of entry" health care system .

The proposed health reform is part of a wider bill to make savings in state health provision, whose budget currently has a deficit of some seven billion euros.

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