PM lays out plan to reform France’s health sector

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said health workers’ would see a 'significant' salary rise as he launched the process to fundamentally review the French healthcare system.

PM lays out plan to reform France’s health sector
PM Edouard Philippe was joined by 300 representatives from the health sector who participated online. Photo: AFP

“The coronavirus has required not that we change the course, but that we change the pace,” said Philippe as he opened what will be nearly two months of intense talks between the government and the health sector to thrash out a plan for the future of French hospitals.

Flanked by the health minister and 300 health sector representatives participating online, Philippe acknowledged that the government had been subject to “a lot of criticism” for how it had steered the country's hospital system in the years leading up to the coronavirus health crisis.
Philippe said that, although the crisis had “revealed” and “accelerated” processes that needed to be done, the hospital system had done the job during the height of the epidemic.
“The French system was remarkable. It held,” he said, referring to the rapid transformation of hospitals in hot-spots as well as a mass-transportation of patients between regions.
“It did not happen easily, (..) but it happened,” he said.
Among the most pressing topics to be discussed during the what has been dubbed Ségur de la santé – the name of the process has been taken from the avenue de Ségur, the street in Paris where the health ministry is located – are nurses' salaries, working conditions and general organisation of healthcare services in cities and rural areas.
Laying out the government's designed pillars to create a “more robust, more just, and more efficient” health sector, the PM confirmed that nurses would see their salaries increased after this period.
“The raise will be significant,” he said.
He also reiterated the government's promise rethink the current investment plan and render the the system “more flexible.”
This last point included a reviewing of the 35-hour week, which could well be a major bone of contention with medical unions.
The PM also said new technology would play a crucial role in the future of French healthcare, pointing to the new practice of télémédecine (online medical consultations) as one example.
“We need to remove obstacles to health system reform,” he said, adding that they in the coming weeks had to see under what circumstances practices such as télémédecine could continue.
The health sector reform had to be accompanied by a broader, structural remapping of medical services in different areas, the PM said.
Emphasising “prevention” as a key-word, the PM said the coronavirus also had laid bare broader inequalities that the country would have to address.
“It’s easy to say all of this, it’s harder to do in practice,” he said.
“To achieve it, we need to be collectively intelligent.”

The results of the Ségur de la santé will be part of a new social security law that will be presented to the parliament this autumn.


Member comments

  1. Telemedicine thus far not working well. What’s the purpose of this method when the doctor can’t see you clearly or check your vital signs? Most doctors speak only French, while the elderly who did speak it have forgotten it and revert to English. In addition, there is no privacy protection in this method. The doctor should see you in person unless it is only to renew a prescription.

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France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.