No end in sight for French hospital crisis


French hospitals are witnessing an unprecedented nationwide strike movement  by paramedical personnel in Accident and Emergency (A&E) services in protest over under-staffing, patient over-crowding, inadequate equipment and poor wages. Despite short-term financial measures announced by the government in June to defuse the situation, the movement has snowballed from 60 hospitals in March to more than 200 this month, when A&E doctors announced they too may now take strike action over what they called “catastrophic” working conditions. Rouguyata Sall reports on the deepening crisis and talks to members of Inter-Urgences, the collective leading the strike movement.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

In March, a long-simmering discontent among accident and emergency (A&E) personnel in French hospitals, who complain of under-staffing, patient over-crowding, inadequate equipment and poor wages, spilled over into strike action at more than 60 hospitals across France. The dispute has grown significantly over the summer months, and this week, a collective body representing A&E nursing staff involved in the movement, Inter-Urgences, announced that 217 A&E services had joined the strike action, representing around a third of all A&E services in French public hospitals (the French health ministry’s own count, announced last week, is 195 hospitals affected).