Industrial action grows in French emergency wards over lack of staff and beds

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On May 25th some 200 emergency department nursing staff met in Paris to discuss their growing strike action, which has so far been largely ignored by the government. A national demonstration will be held in the French capital on June 6th as part of their protest over what they claim are overcrowded casualty wards, a lack of beds and a shortage of staff. Accident and emergency doctors are now also calling for a walk-out. Caroline Coq-Chodorge reports on a growing protest within the French health system.

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Industrial action which began at a emergency department in a Paris hospital is gradually and quietly spreading across France, even if so far it has largely been ignored by the government. Having started at Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris on March 18th the protest action has spread to twenty-two of the twenty-five emergency units run by the Paris regional health authority the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) and hospitals across France. So far 65 emergency departments have joined the appeal by the inter-emergency ward collective group behind the action and another 61 are considering it, out of a total of 500 public hospital emergency units in the country.