In front of the entrance to the emergency room of the Pellegrin Hospital, a handful of Civil Protection volunteers are waiting. Friday evening, rare are the patients, visibly uninformed, to present themselves in front of the hospital.
Because since Wednesday, the entries are filtered: from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on weekends, the rescuers welcome those who come directly, without having first joined the Samu.
On each arrival, they assess the presence of a life-threatening emergency and then contact a Samu Center 15 regulating doctor who decides whether or not to enter the service. If necessary, the patient is redirected to his general practitioner or SOS Médecins.
A dazed thirty-something, who came for a leg brace “scratching” him, thus turned around.
At night, until 8:00 am, contact with the SAMU is made via a telephone at the entrance.
“Emergencies are not closed. We do not refuse anyone. They are regulated for better patient care”, wishes to reassure Dr. Philippe Revel, head of the adult emergency department at Pellegrin Hospital and director of the SAMU.
The first two nights, the service registered a quarter of the patients less, according to initial findings.
What already relieve the teams on site and improve the care of patients, for the head of department who thus hopes “to maintain a stabilized service during the summer”.
– Ancient history –
“Waiting half the night in an overcrowded department to see a doctor for 10 minutes is poor quality care that tires our caregivers,” judges the man who has seen his workforce shrink to a trickle.
Because with “between 40 and 50%” of emergency doctors missing, “two doctors present at night instead of three” and “half of the beds closed for lack of paramedical personnel”, the Bordeaux service “was heading for disaster “, he says.
The CHU unions and the Urgences Bordeaux collective have been warning for several months about overwhelmed emergencies “as in wartime”. A tent reserved for disaster medicine had been erected at the beginning of the year.
A member of the collective, who decided to leave medicine in early May “to preserve himself”, anonymously depicts to AFP premises with “sometimes up to 200 patients a day crammed in” and cared for “even in the showers” for lack of square.
“There are doctors who have shown depression, burnout, suicidal thoughts and we fear suicides this summer”, warns Dr Pierre Catoire, member of the Urgences Bordeaux collective.
The new system is criticized internally. “It’s a parachute to tumble less quickly”, describes the doctor for whom the solution “is at the national level”.
Same story with the inter-union CGT-FO-SUD which calls for a strike Tuesday morning in front of the hospital “to demand job creation in all trades”.
“It’s unacceptable to come to this in one of the best university hospitals in France. We have the same staff as 20 years ago in a city where the population has continued to increase”, insists Gilbert Mouden , nurse anesthetist and Sud Santé Sociaux staff representative.
Faced with the same difficulties, several hospitals in the region including Jonzac (Charente-Maritime), Sarlat (Dordogne), Oloron-Sainte-Marie (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Marmande (Lot-et-Garonne) or Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (Gironde) have already adopted a similar system or limited the number of emergency opening days, according to the Regional Health Agency.
A system that could last: “Emergencies accessible without medical validation 24 hours a day, it’s ancient history. We no longer know how to do it. We are at the dawn of a change of habits”, estimates the Dr. Revel, even seeing “the future of emergency services”.