“The situation is serious”, warns an official of the AP-HP – RT in French

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“The situation is serious”, warns an official of the AP-HP – RT in French
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Pediatrician Rémi Salomon indicated that the care of patients is deteriorating sharply, at the risk of seeing a “drama” occur. According to him, the government’s budgetary boosts remain insufficient to retain exhausted personnel.

“The situation is serious” at the hospital, again alerted Rémi Salomon, pediatrician and president of the establishment medical commission of the AP-HP (Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris), in an interview on France Inter on November 23.

He delivered this diagnosis after being questioned about the death of a septuagenarian on a stretcher in the emergency corridor of the Saint-Malo hospital on November 17, and more generally about the public hospital’s inability to do faced with the influx of more patients, in particular due to the bronchiolitis epidemic affecting France, but also other illnesses linked to the cold season, such as the flu.

Among the symptoms of this critical situation, more than 170 patients have been hospitalized on stretchers for lack of space since the beginning of the week and several nonagenarians have remained on stretchers for nearly 20 hours.

“Too many patients arrive, and above all [il n’y a] not enough staff to keep the beds open in the services”, explained Rémi Salomon about the overflow of emergencies. This situation generates “stress” among caregivers, “who know that they cannot do the treatment properly” according to him. “The risk is that there is a drama from time to time,” he warned.

The working conditions are unbearable

Putting the current crisis into perspective, Rémi Salomon recalled that the situation in public hospitals was already very difficult before Covid-19: in the case of paediatrics, infants “were leaving the Paris region because we did not have enough places,” he said. The coronavirus crisis then made things worse, since “the hospital was not consolidated” after this episode.

Commenting on the government’s various plans to remedy the crisis, including the Ségur de la santé or the recent envelopes released by Minister François Braun in the face of the current crisis, Rémi Salomon acknowledged that “there has been a lot of money “, but that this remains notoriously insufficient.

“We are so behind. For at least fifteen years, Parliament has voted the budget for the Health Hospital every year. And every year it misses [de l’argent]. […] We don’t calculate this budget based on what we need, which would be logical, but […] based on a financial index,” he explained.

“Over time, and it is probably around a billion euros that is missing each year”, he estimated, recalling that the salary increases granted to nurses had not made it possible to catch up with the European average. Beyond salaries, “we have reduced the workforce”, which means that “the working conditions are unbearable” for the staff, lambasted Rémi Salomon. This explains, according to him, the many departures of caregivers, towards the private sector or a professional retraining.

Regarding the “sorting of patients” which was at the center of a controversy between caregivers and their minister, the pediatrician explained that the principle remains to take care of all patients, children or adults, but that it was sometimes necessary “to make room in the services” by deprogramming certain operations, which is “a form of sorting”, he recognized.

Faced with the gravity of the current situation, the AP-HP launched level 2 of the “hospital under tension” plan on November 22, which provides, among other things, for numerous deprogramming of non-urgent operations. Caregivers will have no respite since visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations for bronchiolitis have rebounded in France “at very high levels”, according to the report of the health authorities on November 23, after a shift linked to the school holidays of All Saints.

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