French GPs refuse holiday call-outs in protest over working hours

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A French doctors' union has called on its members to refuse off-duty calls over the Christmas holiday period in a protest at working conditions.

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A union representing young doctors in France has called on its members to refuse off-duty calls over the Christmas holiday period in protest at deteriorating working conditions, reports Radio France Internationale.

The French National Association of Young General Practitioners (SNJMG), which claims to represent around 1,200 general practitioners, resident physicians, relief doctors and interns, says the limited strike, which began on Saturday, will run until New Year’s Day.

The doctors will continue to see patients during working hours, but are refusing to be available “on-call”.

The union’s president, Alexandre Husson, told RFI the strike was necessary to highlight long working hours, poor pay and a lack of support, especially in rural areas.

“Doctors end up spending 60 to 70 hours a week in their office, and they have no family life,” he said.

“The non-medical tasks an isolated doctor has to take care of are enormous: organising appointments, dealing with administrative paperwork...they are overloaded with work, and that creates frustration all around. The patients aren’t happy: they have the feeling that the doctor is just trying to get them out of the office as quickly as possible,” he added.

Read more of this report from RFI.

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