Posted Nov 30, 2022, 6:55 PMUpdated Nov. 30, 2022, 7:27 p.m.
The bronchiolitis epidemic does not relieve its pressure on the health system. Hospitals have continued to see children under the age of two affected by this respiratory disease arrive in droves in recent days, while pediatricians are increasing alerts to the government about poor treatment conditions.
“The intensity of the epidemic is particularly marked throughout the metropolitan territory and in Guadeloupe”, underlined the public health agency France on Wednesday. This reports emergency room visits and hospitalizations “higher than the epidemics of the last ten years”. In all, last week, some 3,000 children were hospitalized and more than 8,600 children went to the emergency room, most of them under the age of one.
“Disillusioned, exhausted, guilty” caregivers
The situation alarms pediatricians. In a column published in “Le Monde” on Wednesday, a group including 400 department heads and all learned pediatric societies directly challenged Emmanuel Macron to “stop the massive bleeding of caregivers who leave the public hospital, disillusioned , exhausted, guilt-ridden”.
The Head of State is notably called upon to “secure the work of caregivers in the hospital”, to “take measures for the recognition of the specificity and expertise of paediatrics” or to commit to increasing the “number of young people trained in care professions”. “Your government is piling up envelopes and temporary emergency measures as the disaster progresses,” tackles the collective.
Asked by pediatricians about the situation in the hospital and the transfers of children, the Minister of Health, François Braun, a former emergency doctor, announced a crisis organization plan. He also released emergency funds. After putting 150 million euros on the table, he corrected the situation to announce an additional 570 million euros from 2022 for pediatric services, but also for other “under tension” services at the hospital.
A deeper crisis
What to allow, in particular, to continue to better pay caregivers, as decided in July to allow hospitals to spend the summer. Because the bronchiolitis epidemic adds to a deeper crisis, aggravated by the health crisis and characterized today by a shortage of caregivers and the closure of many beds.
After having implemented and extended a series of temporary measures, such as regulating access to emergency services, the government has promised to tackle the overhaul of the health system, via the National Council for Refoundation ( CNR). “It is precisely intended to talk about access to care, at all ages […]. There are a lot of resources on the table and organizational issues that must be addressed, ”underlines the entourage of the Head of State. “There has been a handling of the subject at the highest peak of the state for months, but we know that there are moments of tension with the epidemics”, we continue.
“Assizes of Pediatrics”
On the specific subject of paediatrics, François Braun also announced an “in-depth overhaul work”, called “Assises de la pédiatrie”. It should lead to “a multi-year roadmap for the sector” in the spring. The meetings will be led by the head of the general pediatrics and pediatric emergency department of Nantes, Christèle Gras Le Guen, and by the former Secretary of State for Children, Adrien Taquet, a close friend of Emmanuel Macron.