News of the Day ... In Perspective07/29/2006
Physicians’ strike threatens to close private clinics in France
In an effort to force government (“public powers”) to stop increases in malpractice premiums and to discuss fees, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians are threatening to close 680 private French operating rooms for an indefinite period.
As many as 3,000 surgeons, 1,500 anesthesiologists, and 700 obstetricians might participate in the work stoppage. There is anxiety about the ability of affected clinics to continue operations. Patients with complications will be cared for and others sent to the hospital, stated the president of a physicians organization.
Physicians claim that an agreement to reevaluate fees, signed in 2004, is a dead letter. The government denies this.
The minister of health has written to the physician organizations, reminding them of their duty to assure continuity of care, especially given the current weather conditions. He reassured them that their concerns would be addressed, but physicians were skeptical.
The regional hospital agency has called on unaffected facilities to accept more patients. Local authorities can force doctors to return to work if problems occur (LeMonde.fr 7/22/06).