From October 15, caregivers will need to show proof of full vaccination (two doses, or one dose and infection) in order to report to work and avoid being suspended without pay.
This is a second major step in the policy of the French government. Since September 15, these doctors, nurses or attendants in centers for the elderly must prove that they have started the vaccination process, with at least one dose of vaccine.
The announcement of this measure had given rise to demonstrations in certain large cities of France, such as Paris and Lyon. Health workers did not hide their fear of seeing the private network of many professionals, when the needs are great.
One month later, how many employees have been or are likely to be suspended? About 15,000 of the 2 million people affected by the vaccination obligation, assures the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.
Most importantly, the hospitals have not closed. EHPAD [établissements d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes] have not closed. There was no massive transfer of patients.
The French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, last August took stock of the government’s strategy to fight COVID-19.
Photo: Getty Images / Stéphane de Sakutin
On the airwaves of France Info, Wednesday, the minister explained that the number of caregivers already suspended or likely to be so represents 0.6% of the workforce in the network, a proportion which would have decreased by 0.3 percentage point in the during the last month.
That’s a very, very low percentage, launched the minister on public radio.
Certain tense situations
Compared to all caregivers, it is certain that these figures are low, but unfortunately today any less person in a service leads to dysfunctions which can be serious., replies Christophe Prudhomme, spokesperson for the Association of Emergency Physicians of France.
The doctor assures us that the impact of the policy is being felt in certain communities. He notes among other things the example of Montélimar, where the hospital announced last month that it had to cancel dozens of operations, since around twenty staff members, including three anesthetists, were to be suspended.
The newspaper The Parisian also revealed this week that at the Bichat Hospital in Paris, the neurological service would be
in danger, having to deal with the presence of 6 nurses, against 20 in normal times.
Doctor Christophe Prudhomme agrees with the vaccination of health personnel:
the goal is right, but the method is wrong, he said. In his opinion, the slightest suspension adds to an already existing problem of labor shortage.
According to the Federation of Private Hospitalization (FHP), there are 100,000 vacant positions in French establishments, whether public or private.
As long as the unvaccinated people on duty cannot be replaced to ensure continuity of care, the application must be postponed, otherwise the health system is endangered and patients are endangered.
The French government has also shown a certain flexibility for the application of the vaccination obligation in the overseas departments such as Guadeloupe and Martinique, where vaccination rates were particularly low at the time of entry into force. force of the measure. At the end of September, the management of the Pointe-à-Pitre University Hospital Center claimed that only 26% of the staff were vaccinated.
On the eve of the second stage of its plan, the administration nevertheless remains convinced that the obligation remains the best way to increase vaccination coverage in hospitals and health centers in the country.
According to the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, the proportion of staff members who are suspended
will continue to decline, since as the weeks go by those who really choose to quit to be vaccinated become the exception.
As of October 12, more than 73% of the French population is adequately vaccinated.
Photo : Getty Images / Pascal Guyot
Courts seized of disputes
To continue to move forward in this case, Paris can for the moment count on judicial decisions.
At the end of September, a Strasbourg court rejected the request of two unvaccinated employees of a Haut-Rhin hospital who refused to submit to the vaccination obligation for health workers.
On Tuesday, 29 caregivers from Franche-Comté who had refused to present proof of vaccination were rejected after having presented an appeal against their employer.
Similar scenario Wednesday, an administrative court of Versailles also rejected the emergency request of an administrative assistant of a hospital who challenged his suspension without pay.