Hospital: the disaster announced in the emergency room has not yet taken place

Is the shortage of caregivers turning into a “disaster” in the emergency services this summer as some feared? This is not the case, assured the Minister of Health. “There are no emergency closures,” said François Braun, traveling to the Nantes University Hospital. “We must stop with this term which is used all the time and which is scary”, estimated the ex-emergency doctor, preferring to evoke a “regulated access to emergency services”.

“This regulation does not bring a degradation of care as I can hear, but on the contrary a better orientation of patients according to needs”, defended the minister. Heard Tuesday evening by the Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, François Braun had said he wanted to “cut short any debate”, ensuring that “access to care for those who need it is guaranteed” and rejecting the term “sort”.

“The toughest summer ever”

However, the minister does not hide the difficulties encountered by emergencies. “I will not be the minister who will deny the realities”, he declared before the deputies, after having mentioned the “fragilities of our system” and the “significant tensions in particular in terms of medical demography”.

Nine out of ten emergency services are currently facing a lack of personnel, alerted this Wednesday Samu-Urgences de France. As France enters a heat wave, “the hardest part is yet to come”, warns Louis Soulat, its spokesperson, who anticipates a “very complicated situation around mid-August”. “The problem is the impact of bed closures”, explains the head of emergencies at the Rennes University Hospital, estimating their rate at 25%. “It’s twice as much as in other years,” he compares, referring to “the most difficult summer ever known” in thirty years of service.

“We promised ourselves not to touch the holidays but we are not sure to hold on”, regrets the practitioner. To unclog emergencies this summer, François Braun reminded the Assembly of the measures resulting from the “flash mission” that he himself launched before entering government. First recommendation: the national campaign launched on July 25 to encourage the French to call 15 before going to the emergency room, in order to better orient them.

“Studies show that 30 to 40% of patients presenting to the emergency room could be taken care of otherwise: three quarters by city medicine and a quarter who could have direct entry into the services”, explains the minister. This measure, however, raises fears of a saturation of the centers 15. “Some are struggling to cope with the flow of calls”, worried Marc Noizet, president of Samu-Urgences de France on RTL on Tuesday. The number of calls to 15 jumped 21% in July compared to the same period last year, he said.

An evaluation and monitoring committee

Another lever put forward by the Minister to respond to the emergency crisis: an increase of 15 euros for any act carried out by a liberal doctor at the request of the Samu regulation or the healthcare access service (SAS), outside of his patient base. François Braun also defended the doubling of night increases for nursing staff and the revaluation of 50% of guards for doctors, for a period of three months.

These temporary measures, supposed to allow the emergency services to overcome the summer, are partly welcomed by Louis Soulat. “It’s after” feared by the head of emergencies at the Rennes University Hospital, who fears new departures in September. In order to perpetuate the measures resulting from the flash mission beyond the summer period, François Braun announced the forthcoming formation of a “committee for monitoring and evaluating this plan”.

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