French hospitals hit as doctors carry on nationwide strike

AFP - JULIEN DE ROSA

On the third day of a French doctors' strike, emergency services are being overwhelmed – with a "triple epidemic" of flu, Covid and bronchiolitis forcing patients to seek help from hospitals instead of their local GP.

Health Minister François Braun warned this was a week of great danger for the national health system as general practitioners continue their strike for higher consultation fees and improved conditions.

Visiting a hospital in the eastern city of Annecy, near the border with Switzerland, Braun on Wednesday admitted that the entire French health system is under enormous pressure.

"This is the week of all the dangers," he added.

Flu poses major threat

Braun said coronavirus infection rates had slowed down, while the infection rate for bronchiolitis remained high.

However for seasonal flu there has been an explosion in the number of cases, some of them very serious, Braun said, meaning that virtually all intensive care units are inundated.

The national health monitoring agency said last week had seen a continuing increase in the figures for flu infection across all age groups and all geographical areas.

Hospital admissions for flu-related symptoms increased by 75 percent in the course of the week.

An unwelcome strike

During his visit to Annecy, Braun criticised the general practitioners who are on strike in support of a claim for higher fees and improved conditions.


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