Olivier Véran tries to explain the closure of more than 5,700 hospital beds

Despite the pandemic, more than 5,700 full hospital beds were closed in 2020 in French health establishments, reported a study by the Ministry of Health at the end of September. In an interview published in Release Wednesday October 27, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, outlines the reasons for these massive closures: “For lack of caregivers, especially for lack of being able to recruit them. “

In addition to the lack of staff, the Minister of Health notes an increase in absenteeism “A little less than one point over the same period for non-medical personnel”, as well as resignations, but “In moderate proportions”. Results : “In sixteen CHUs (…) an increase of nearly a third of vacant positions among paramedics compared to fall 2019.”

The new recruitments are not enough to compensate for the needs. Between 2018 and 2021, just over a thousand nursing students in training have “Resigned before the end of their studies”. “An investigation will be launched” so that we “Understand the reasons”.

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20% of beds closed according to the scientific council

The Hospital Federation of France (FHF) had reported, on October 20, of“An absenteeism rate of around 10%” and of “2 to 5% of vacant nursing posts” in hospitals and public medico-social establishments.

And in its opinion of October 5, the scientific council stated“A significant percentage of closed beds, estimated at around 20%” despite a “Already significant and increasing use of overtime and temporary work”. These collected data “With the major hospital structures of the country in the largest French regions” also highlight “A large number of vacant jobs, with in particular five professions in tension” : nurses, operating room nurses, nurse anesthetists, radiology technicians and physiotherapists.

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“The figure of 20%, I would tend, like that, to dispute it. And in any case because I love science deeply and before speaking, I make sure not to tell anything. I asked to have as exhaustive a study as possible on the state of closure ”, commented Wednesday afternoon Mr. Véran during a hearing at the National Assembly on the finance bill for 2022. “For the moment, the only figure I have is on a very fragmented sample of sixteen university hospitals. With all the biases that we can recognize, out of sixteen CHUs, the last data that came back to me is 5% of medicine beds temporarily closed. We would therefore be quite far from 20% of the general hospital stock ”, he added.

“The situation is complicated, but I refuse fatalism”, adds Olivier Véran near Release. He claims to be aware “That the most serious current problem”, these are “Degraded working conditions due to understaffing”.

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Multiple alerts

Olivier Véran, during the questioning session to the government at the National Assembly, in Paris, October 26, 2021.

There have been many alarms about the harsh working conditions in hospitals for several years.

As of May 2019, some hospitals, in particular their emergency services, went on strike. In August of that year, more than a third of the 640 establishments in the country were affected by the mobilization. “Our demands for more humanity in the healthcare chain are the same”, explained to the World a regulation assistant from the SAMU de Savoie, on strike to support his colleagues at the Chambéry hospital. “What we want is not a bonus, it’s colleagues. ”

In January 2020, nearly 1,200 hospital doctors, including 600 heads of service and 470 heads of units, announced their resignation from their administrative, management and representation functions, in the absence of negotiations with the government on the means of the public hospital.

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The Ségur de la santé, concluded in July 2020, intended to reform this sector and make it more attractive, in particular through salary increases, has not resolved the unease of hospital staff. “Before Ségur, nurses were at -20% compared to the average European salary, explained to the World Thierry Amouroux, spokesperson for the National Union of Nursing Professionals CFE-CGC. Since the revaluation, we are still at -10%. “

Since October 9, the emergency room staff at the Laval hospital center (Mayenne) has been on indefinite strike. “We are five full-time equivalents for a goal between sixteen and eighteen. Barely a third of the target ”, declared Caroline Brémaud, head of the emergency department of this hospital, guest on France Inter on October 18.

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The World with AFP

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Olivier Véran tries to explain the closure of more than 5,700 hospital beds