Public hospital: “The caregivers are tired of fighting”

La Croix: Is the increase in Covid cases being felt at Rennes University Hospital?

Cecile Vigneau: It begins. About a fortnight ago, we went down to about ten hospitalized patients; today, they are more than twenty. We mainly see unvaccinated patients arriving, but also people who were vaccinated very early and have not yet received their third dose, hence the importance of the booster.

→ EXPLANATION. Increase in hospitalizations: who are seriously ill with Covid?

In January 2020, you left your administrative functions for a few weeks to protest against the lack of resources at the public hospital. What is the situation in your establishment today?

CV: It got worse. And it is not because of the epidemic, because we did not know big waves in Rennes. The situation is particularly critical in emergencies. At the moment, 50 patients are waiting on stretchers in the corridors because there is no room. To which the director of human resources replied that we could “To make toilets behind a screen” !

The Scientific Council estimates that 20% of beds have closed in large hospitals for lack of staff. The French Hospital Federation (FHF) speaks of 6%. Where is the reality?

CV: It depends on the hospitals. In Rennes, the number of beds increased in 2015, but we have not returned to the 2007 level, while the population continues to grow. Embolization is also due to fee-for-service: because they are less remunerative, long-term and follow-up care units have been sacrificed. However, it is in these services that most of the patients waiting in the emergency room should be, in particular the elderly.

How to improve things?

CV: By hiring. Caregivers, nurses, doctors, secretaries… Everything!

It is also necessary to recreate trades, such as couriers and stretcher bearers, whose tasks have slipped towards caregivers. Today, nurses go to the pharmacy for medicines, greet patients, show them how to use the telephone in their room… This is less time for care.

You are part of the hospital’s Medical Establishment Commission (CME). Did it allow you to make your voice heard?

CV: No, because no one listens to me! Our directors are disconnected, they do not come to the departments. Their goal is to be financially balanced and they have bonuses for that, which creates a conflict of interest.

→ REPORT. “I have spent my life thinking about others”: in Paris, a house to treat caregivers

The Health Segur has released an envelope of 19 billion euros and salary increases. It’s not enough ?

CV: We are constantly being hit with this amount, but these 19 billion had already been announced two years ago by the previous minister, Agnès Buzyn! As for nurses and caregivers, no one spits on € 183, but we are still below the average level of the OECD. And other professions, like psychologists and physiotherapists, got nothing. Moreover, nothing has been done for the reorganization of the hospital, and the articulation with the city. Like the Fédération hospitalière de France, I defend the reestablishment of compulsory guards for the liberals. City medicine must participate in emergencies.

Do you hope to see the subject prevail in the presidential campaign?

CV: For now, the candidates do not talk much about the public hospital, but I remain hopeful! Having said that, I ask myself more and more questions about my job. When La Croix l’Hebdo interviewed me in January 2020, leaving the public hospital was not an option; today, I wouldn’t be so categorical. And I am far from being the only one: the caregivers are tired of fighting so that nothing changes.

→ INVESTIGATION. Ségur de la santé: salary increases but pending projects

The government regularly welcomes the fact that the public hospital has “held up” to the crisis. Is that the case ?

CV: If it has held up, it is thanks to the goodwill of the staff. And again, the hospitals just haven’t collapsed. Like Notre-Dame, the public hospital is still standing but it needs to be saved. Except that we barely give him enough to repair a wing.


Against the Covid, maintain barrier gestures

While Emmanuel Macron will speak on Tuesday, November 9, on the epidemic situation, it continues its upward trend with more than 7,000 new positive cases each day and 6,709 people hospitalized on November 7, according to Public Health France. “The vaccine protects against severe forms of Covid-19 but does not prevent transmission. Without barrier gestures, we cannot fight against the epidemic ”, recalls Djillali Annane, head of the intensive care unit at Raymond-Poincaré hospital.


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