Macron trumpets own record as he announces mandatory vaccines for health staff and Covid 'passports'

France — Analysis

The French president addressed the nation on the evening of Monday July 12th to announce that all health workers will have to get a Covid vaccination between now and September 15th. In addition, Emmanuel Macron said that citizens will soon require a Covid pass or 'passport' for many social activities; for cinemas from July 21st and for bars and restaurants from the start of August, as well as for train journeys and longer coach trips. At the same time the president took the opportunity to praise his own track record as head of state before and during the Covid crisis and to set out some potentially controversial reforms just months ahead of next April's presidential election. Ellen Salvi reports on the president's latest televised address.

How virus crisis is changing the face - and politics - of French society

France — Opinion

The ongoing Coronavirus health crisis facing France is leading to unprecedented political change. Large sections of society are on the march: taking charge of their own professions themselves and setting up numerous support structures and initiatives. And as François Bonnet argues in this op-ed article, this sudden land grab of some very political arenas by new groups has left society's traditional  institutions and political forces flat-footed.

French hospitals crisis: why staff are sick of their conditions

Portfolios — 8 photos

A long-simmering frustration and discontent among accident and emergency (A&E) personnel in French hospitals, who complain of under-staffing, patient over-crowding, and of being under-equipped and under-paid, spilled over in March into strike action at more than 60 hospitals across France. Their demands include the recruitment of extra staff, more hospital beds and a monthly net pay increase of 300 euros. As the crisis has continued to grow, talks this month between the government and hospital staff representatives led to French health minister Agnès Buzyn announcing a 70 million-euro aid package that included pay increases and provisions for hiring temporary staff for the summer months – which recurrent heatwaves over recent years have made a critical period. The collective association representing A&E staff, Inter-Urgences, on Monday rejected the measure, which it described as “insufficient”, underlining that the overall 2019 nationwide hospital budget amounts to 82 billion euros. For the most part, the strike action has been largely symbolic, with staff continuing to care for patients while wearing protest armbands and putting up protest banners in hospital corridors. But the anger and desperation of the A&E personnel is such that at two Paris hospitals, l’hôpital Lariboisière and l’hôpital Saint-Antoine, staff earlier this month took last-minute overnight sick leave. Mediapart interviewed nurses and nursing assistants with the A&E services at the hôpital Lariboisière, close to the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris, who describe here their day-to-day working conditions, frustrations and fears and, despite it all, how their dedication remains intact.

How the cost-cutting bug made French hospitals sick

France — Report

The French healthcare system enjoys a reputation as one of the most comprehensive and effective worldwide, and was ranked as the overall best in an international survey by the World Health Organization in 2000. But all that came at a price which is now the target of severe cost-cutting drives. The country's debt-ridden hospitals, once an example of excellence, are short of basic supplies of sheets, blankets, bed pads, syringes, bottled water and nurses' uniforms, among other things. "What was working fine before has since turned into a huge mess," comments a senior doctor at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. Noémie Rousseau reports.