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HEALTH

Have your say: What have been the positives about living in France during a year of lockdowns, curfews and closures?

As we approach the one-year anniversary of France's first nationwide lockdown we know that this has been an incredibly tough year for many people, practically, financially and emotionally. But among the struggles, many people have learned new things and discovered positive aspects to their life in France.

Have your say: What have been the positives about living in France during a year of lockdowns, curfews and closures?
Did you gain Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP

Living in France as a foreigner has been tough for many over the past year, especially given the travel restrictions that have prevented many from seeing their families.

But has there been any positives, any pleasant surprises, new discoveries of even welcome changes to your life in France over the last 12 months of lockdowns, masks, curfews and closures?

For some it was spending quality time with family, for others a chance to properly explore their local area in France. As locally-based food and drink producers expanded their delivery service many people got the chance to try new things, while others took up a new hobby or connected properly with their French neighbours.

Whatever it was that helped you through the last year in France, please share it in the form below.

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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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