'People are suffering': French doctors cite funding, staff shortages in public hospitals

French public hospitals have been hit by walkouts for more than 10 months. Outside the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, pasted messages attest to rising anger and concern among medical staff, who say they lack sufficient funding and personnel. 

Next to a row of coloured letters that spell out "Hospitals save you. Save them!" a hematologist tells FRANCE 24's Chris Moore that over 70 nurse's posts at Hôpital Saint-Louis are vacant.

"Beds are being lost because we lack staff," he said. "So sometimes you see patients waiting on stretchers in the emergency ward. People are suffering and it's not acceptable to leave them on stretchers like that.

"Cutbacks are not just theoretical. They have practical consequences. And we see them on the ground every day."

French medical staff say market-based policies by successive governments have hurt patient care. Yasin, a doctor who gave up an administrative role in protest, says a "politics of accountancy is running the hospitals, whereas it should be the politics of public health." 

"If the money they put in matched our needs, then okay. But that's not the case," he said.

The French government has promised €1.5 billion of help over three years, but medical staff say it isn't enough.

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