thousands of doctors threatened with losing their jobs

thousands of doctors threatened with losing their jobs

“Without them, the hospital collapses”: threatened with losing their position since the end of a hiring system, doctors practicing in France but qualified outside the European Union (EU) are “indispensable” and must be regularized urgently, implore unions and department heads.

Very mobilized “Padhue”

Emergency physicians, psychiatrists, gynecologists, general practitioners… For more than twenty years, medical desertification has led many health establishments in France to recruit doctors from outside the EU. And to hire “Padhue” – for “ practitioners with qualifications outside the European Union”.

There are still between 4,000 and 5,000 working in France today, according to several unions. Their number grew during the Covid-19 epidemic, when the hospital was exhausted and looking for help.

Poorly paid, employed on short renewable contracts, Padhue often perform the same functions as senior doctors and can hope for “full practice authorization”, via a selective competition called EVC and after examination of their file. Without this sesame, in theory, they cannot carry out certain functions or work alone. In fact, in the midst of a shortage of doctors, many of them say they do it…

For non-laureates, a special regime has long allowed hospitals to hire them, under various precarious statuses, paid between €1,500 and €2,200 per month. But this regime, extended several times, ended on December 31. It is now impossible to renew these contracts, to their great dismay.

“Undocumented” doctors

“We were told ‘if you don’t have the EVC this year, it’s over’. But there are few places (2,700 positions open for 10 to 20,000 candidates, depending on sources Editor’s note) and we are fighting against people registered from abroad, who have a year to prepare. I work 70 hours a week in the emergency room,” sighs Mia, 38, who arrived from Madagascar in 2020, on condition of anonymity.

” I failed. However, I have excellent reviews, I keep the guards on duty,” chokes up this general practitioner working near Paris, applauded during the health crisis and today “without a residence permit”.

“2000 doctors are on the floor”, some now “undocumented”, denounces Halim Bensaidi, representative of Ipadecc, one of the unions specializing in their defense. An estimate shared by the CGT and FO union confederations.

Naturalized French, Amel (first name changed), 31 years old, graduated in general medicine in Algeria and currently in the third cycle of psychiatry, did not “have the right” to register for the EVC in her specialty, despite three years of exercise in Seine-Saint-Denis, a poor department near Paris. “I provide psychological consultations and guards. Today, I work without a contract,” she confides.

In certain territories, “services run almost exclusively with them. So they remain in their positions illegally, the management has no choice,” explains Hocine Saal, head of emergency at Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis). “Without them, the system collapses.”

“Emergencies closed”

Since a recent reform, the allocation of the positions of the winners is the responsibility of the State services, and “not at all in line with our needs”, deplores this signatory, with 220 doctors, of an article published in the weekly Le Point.

“I asked for ten positions, but I was granted half of them, including only one emergency doctor. So I won’t be able to fill out my duty schedules. I’m going to have to partially close the emergency room,” he laments.

At the Delafontaine emergency room in Saint-Denis, near the Stade de France, in the same department, “out of around thirty doctors, three are qualified in France. The others are ex-Padhue or Padhue,” also testifies the head of department Matthias Wargon.

“If I don’t have the positions requested, I will close, at least at night. The Olympic Games will be without me,” he warns, in reference to the Paris Olympics, from July 26 to August 11.

Tuesday, during a televised conference, the French president Emmanuel Macron promised to “regularize a number of foreign doctors”, without saying how or when. Contacted, the Ministry of Health did not provide details.

In a press release, a union coalition calls for examining the files of each doctor in committee, without competition: because it is “essential” to verify their skills, but also to quickly offer them a “permanent status” and dignified.

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