“In our territories, the crisis of our health system is an old reality”

Tribune. In France, the health crisis is a reality older than the Covid-19. Indeed, if this pandemic puts a strain on our health system, it did not wait for it to experience its first difficulties. In our territories, we have been seeing it for some time, the selflessness of healthcare professionals allows our health system to hold out, even to survive.

First of all, if we have managed to hold out until then and especially in the midst of the epidemic, it is thanks to the exceptional commitment of thousands of women and men, caregivers, public health and public service workers. all medical personnel. They have invested themselves without counting to contain, slow down and respond to the most urgent situations.

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In our hospitals, the 8 p.m. applause was of little help in the face of the closure of beds and the gradual reduction in staff, against a background of deteriorating working conditions and a vocations crisis. At the Quimper hospital center (Finistère), one in ten employees (11% according to the unions, 8.9% for management) is on sick leave when, again according to the unions, one to two positions per department are not occupied.

Action by local authorities

Then, it is thanks to the action of local authorities which still and always resist medical desertification. An old phenomenon since in France, the number of people living in a municipality with limited access to a general practitioner rose from 1% in 2007, to 7.6% in 2012 to reach 11.1%, or nearly 7.5 million people in 2018. According to the Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics, this situation represents a social injustice which first strikes the most precarious, who have “Up to eight times more risk of giving up treatment in areas very poorly provided with general practitioners”.

Thus, in rural areas, the life expectancy of men is 2.2 years less than those living in urban areas. In Guingamp (Côtes-d’Armor), the hospital, its maternity unit, its emergency services and its technical platforms are of vital strategic importance for a territory that exceeds some 3 km2 from its municipal border and where the aging index is 63% higher than the national average – thus revealing an absolute need for local care.

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How many of us could know the situation of this woman from Laval, transported more than 200 km from her home, in Vannes (Morbihan), for lack of being able to be admitted to the five other maternity hospitals on her route? Finally, if the health system still holds up – in Brittany in particular – it is because it contributes to the attractiveness of entire living areas.

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“In our territories, the crisis of our health system is an old reality”