Unusually high tension among practitioners. For the first time since 2015 and the Touraine law, all the unions of liberal doctors are calling for a strike to put pressure on the executive. A movement initiated by the young collective “Doctors for tomorrow”, created at the end of August and which to date brings together more than 14,000 members on Facebook, a symptom of a dull anger which is spreading in the profession.
With the “single claim” of doubling the price of the consultation – from 25 to 50 euros – this “apolitical and non-union” group has rallied all the representative organizations to its cause. Forced to follow their base, they also see a way to influence the negotiations that have just started with Health Insurance, with a view to a new agreement for the next five years.
Some unions do not hide their closeness to this collective, such as the UFML and the FMF, who came to their first negotiation session accompanied by a representative of “Doctors for tomorrow”. A sterile consultation for the FMF which again estimated on Saturday that in the face of public authorities “deaf to (their) suffering”, liberal doctors must “cry even louder”.
“These two days of closure must constitute an electric shock”, affirms for its part the SML which has long called for a consultation at 50 euros to give doctors “the means to remain liberal”. Health Insurance has for its part promised some upgrades, in particular for general practitioners, pediatricians and psychiatrists.
But beyond the financial subject, doctors are also worried about their freedom of installation, which is increasingly questioned, especially in Parliament where bills on medical deserts are accumulating.
– “Hard strike” at Christmas? –
Counterproductive “political solutions”, when it is rather “urgent to quickly regain attractiveness”, judges Franck Devulder, president of the CSMF. Diagnosis shared by her counterpart from MG France, Agnès Gianotti, for whom the fight against the “loss of meaning of the profession” “passes neither by constraint nor by contempt”.
The sacred union extends to their cadets of Young Doctors, who also demand “consideration”, as well as to the interns of Isni, reassembled against the “disconnected decisions” of the government – and always mobilized against the addition a tenth year of study for future general practitioners.
This common front bodes well for a prolonged conflict, according to a union leader who is already planning a strike by the guards in December, then a new closure of the cabinets during the end-of-year holidays. The collective “Doctors for tomorrow” has also mentioned a “hard strike” from December 26.
“I’m not sure it’s popular, or it’s the right time,” warned Agnès Firmin Le Bodo last week. For the Minister Delegate for Health Professions, the growing difficulties of access to care have repercussions and “the feeling of our fellow citizens towards doctors is beginning to change”.
But the argument of public opinion has its limits, as demonstrated by biologists. Pointed out for two months for its record profits linked to Covid tests, the sector stubbornly refuses the puncture of 250 million euros per year on other examinations, included in the Social Security budget.
After a first three-day strike in mid-November, unions and large medical analysis groups are again calling for the laboratories to be closed on Thursday and Friday. Their last chance before the final vote on the bill that the executive does not seem ready to modify.
On the contrary, the Minister of Health François Braun again denounced last week actions “contrary to ethics” and putting “in danger the continuity of care”.