• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
France braces for 'Black Friday' doctors strike
Private doctors demand the resignation of Marisol Touraine bill during a protest in Bordeaux on October 3rd. Photo: AFP

France braces for 'Black Friday' doctors strike

Catherine Edwards · 13 Nov 2015, 10:29

Published: 13 Nov 2015 09:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Nov 2015 10:29 GMT+01:00

The strike, called by five key health worker's unions representing some 104.000 health professionals, will see many doctors' surgeries around the country closed and some planned operations in private clinics postponed.

The industrial action is planned to run until Monday November 16th, with business as usual not resuming until the following day.

Public hospitals will be left to bear the brunt of the burden of staff shortages during the strike, staying open to deal with emergencies. Toulouse, Lyon and Grenoble are expected to be particularly hard hit.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has assured the French public it has taken precautions so each patient can receive adequate treatment.

Friday's industrial action is the latest battle in a sometimes fierce ongoing war between health workers and the French government. In fact, even more people will be affected by Friday’s protests than by previous strikes, as dentists and nurses are set to join GPs, specialists and surgeons.

It comes as French MPs gear up for a full debate of a new health reform bill, which includes clauses banning skinny catwalk models, prohibiting the incitement of anorexia, and outlawing the advertising of sunbeds.

But the issue that is particularly bothering doctors is that patients will no longer need to pay doctors up-front for treatment, starting from 2017. Under the new rules, doctors’ fees would instead be refunded by insurance bodies, a system which is already in place for pharmacy medicines and low-income patients who fit certain criteria.

The measure was voted down by the French Senate, but was reinstated by MPs this week with the health bill due for another debate in the lower house next week.

Doctors claim that the change would mean extra paperwork and longer waits for them to receive payment, while also signifying a loss of control for healthcare professionals.

There is also a worry that if patients see healthcare as free, more people will visit the doctor when it is not necessary, placing extra burden on France’s health service.

Protest marches against the reform in March saw thousands take to the streets of Paris. According to the organizers, up to 50,000 took part in protests, though police estimates placed the figure at a more modest 19,000.

If you are ill today and need medical attention, BFM TV recommends trying to make a doctor's appointment using the online platform Doctolib, which operates in 15 major French cities and in key regions.

If that option fails, you can also call ambulances services (Samu) by dialling 15 to discuss your symptoms. They will be able to direct you to emergency services if that is necessary.

Story continues below…

Pharmacies may also be able to help, but visiting your hospital emergency services unit should be a last resort, BFM TV advises.

 

 

Catherine Edwards (catherine.edwards@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Frenchman sentenced to jail time for burying dog alive
Photo: Pedro Dinis/Facebook

A man who buried his disabled dog alive, sparking social media fury in France, has been handed a jail sentence.

Le Thought du Jour
Post-Brexit: Could it benefit France to see the UK suffer?
Will Hollande benefit from the mess left behind by Cameron. Photo: AFP

The referendum result may have boosted Marine Le Pen and the growing anti-EU movement in France, but what has happened since may have taken the wind out their sails.

France 'probes new death threats' against Charlie Hebdo

A special French police unit has launched investigations after Charlie Hebdo magazine was subject to new death threats, according to reports in France.

Paris commuters face summer of transport headaches
Photo: AFP

Here are the train lines to avoid this summer if you're in Paris.

What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in July
Check out Provence's Lavender festivals in July. Photo: Ming-Yen Hsu/Flickr

We reckon July is by far the best month to be in France. Here's why.

Brexit
France wants Paris to profit from London's losses
Photo: AFP

Paris must take London's place as Europe's financial powerhouse once Brexit happens, a French minister says.

French foie gras industry warns of Christmas shortages
Photo: AFP

The foie gras industry in France is struggling to digest the consequences of the bird flu scare in its heartland.

Paris to honour Ireland's 'wonderful' football fans
Photo: AFP

Fans of the Boys in Green are to be given a special medal for bringing some joy to Euro 2016.

€5 to the coast? Ouibus rolls out new summer lines
Photo: Ouibus

Fancy heading to the coast for just €5 this summer?

Brexit
When France 'ignored' the result of an EU referendum
Demonstrators hold signs reading 'Respect our No, an other Europe is possible' after the EU constitution which was rejected in a referendum in 2005. Photo: AFP

The UK has voted to Leave the EU... but can the Brexit vote simply be ignored? Here's what happened in France's own EU referendum 11 years ago.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
2,736
jobs available