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HEALTH

France’s daily hospital death toll from coronavirus falls to 44 people

France on Thursday reported 44 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals over the previous 24 hours, taking the official tally to 29,065 fatalities.

France's daily hospital death toll from coronavirus falls to 44 people
Photo: AFP

The health ministry tally does not include deaths in care homes and other institutions in the daily tally – after problems with data collection these are now reported weekly with the latest update due on June 9th.

Nationwide, France now lists 1,163 Covid-19 patients who are in intensive care, 47 fewer than Wednesday and continuing the steady daily fall seen since May 19th.

READ ALSO No return to lockdown in France, even in case of a second wave, says head of Scientific Council

 

At the height of the outbreak there were more than 7,000 patients in intensive care.

Three-quarters of those now in intensive care are spread over just four regions – the greater Paris Îl-de-France region, the Grand-Est, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Hauts-de-France.

At the height of the epidemic in early April, France was recording more than 800 deaths a day, but numbers began to drop two weeks after the strict nationwide lockdown was introduced.

Better than expected numbers at the end of May meant that France has moved to lift a lot of the restrictions it had imposed, reopening bars and cafés in most areas of the country, allowing people to travel freely around France and accelerating the reopening of the country's schools.

But there are still restrictions in place including a ban on international travel, no gatherings of more than 10 people and the compulsory wearing of face masks in areas including public transport.

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STRIKES

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

General practitioners in France are planning another industrial action that will see doctors' offices closed as they call for better investment in community healthcare.

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

Primary care doctors in France announced plans to strike again in February, after walkouts in December and over the Christmas-New Year holidays in early January.

The strike will take place on Tuesday, February 14th, and it comes just a few weeks ahead of the end-of-February deadline where France’s social security apparatus, Assurance Maladie, must reach an agreement to a structure for fees for GPs for the next five years.

Hospital doctors in France are largely barred from striking, but community healthcare workers such as GPs are self-employed and therefore can walk out. 

Their walk-out comes amid mass strike actions in February over the French government’s proposed pension reform. You can find updated information on pensions strikes HERE.

Previous industrial action led to widespread closures of primary care medical offices across the country. In December, strike action saw between 50 to 70 percent of doctor’s surgeries closed.

READ MORE: Urgent care: How to access non-emergency medical care in France

New concerns among GPs

According to reporting by La Depeche, in the upcoming strike in February primary care doctors will also be walking out over a new fear – the possibility of compulsory ‘on-call’ hours.

Currently, French GPs take on-call hours on a voluntary basis. Obligatory on-call time for primary care doctors was scrapped in the early 2000s after GPs mobilised against the requirement.

However, representatives from the Hospital Federation have called for it to be reinstated in order to help relieve emergency services.

Additionally, GPs are calling for Saturday shifts to considered as part of their standard working week, in order to allow for a two-day weekend.

Striking primary care doctors are more broadly calling for actions by the government and Assurance Maladie to help make the field more appealing to younger physicians entering the profession, as the country faces more medical deserts, and for working conditions to be improved.

Those walking out hope to see administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee – typically capped to €25 – to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.

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