Thousands of French freelance doctors rallied in Paris to demand higher wages and improved working conditions on Thursday.
The French government harshly criticized the strike, calling it “very irresponsible” since it raises “pressure on hospitals” amid the winter flu season.
“Doctors in France earn the least in all of Europe, and probably only in Albania do they earn less than we do. We are well below the European average. The result is that we cannot hire another staff to relieve us of all our administrative burdens. This therefore really affects and hinders our therapeutic activities. The second problem is that, for the same reason, we can no longer set up clinics in certain cities, as it is clearly not possible to set up clinics in Paris or in large towns, or even to rent medical clinics in certain medium-sized towns, because of the 25 euro consultation fee. This is becoming more and more complicated. Especially when we employ a secretary, and we need larger premises in order to be able to put in a secretary’s office or an extra consulting room, so that we can make the most of the staff who can help us. Being a part-time doctor is also not possible because the expenses are so high. The current system allows doctors to continue working while receiving a pension, which is a solution to retain a certain number of doctors. Retired doctors would like to be able to work 2 or 3 days a week, which is not possible in the current situation. Therefore, the implementation of these two measures, together with the 50 Euros consultancy fee, would encourage young people to return to the profession and settle in France, as they currently do elsewhere. This will enable us to revitalise our French medical structure so that we can start treating patients again in the more efficient way we would like,” explained Sophie Bauer, President of the Union of Liberal Doctors.