Olivier Véran is very upset. “I spent the summer alerting, saying that the virus was circulating rapidly and that the number of patients was going to increase. I was answered, But no, stop, there are no hospitalizations, and now, what do we see? A raise! “This Thursday, September 17, the Minister of Health is holding a press conference, against the backdrop of the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic. He will now do one a week. And promises “transparency” on the figures and the situation. In any case, this is his first major speech since the end of August. An eternity for the one who was the daily face of the health crisis …
“Véran, where did he go?” », Laughs a socialist senator. In reality, the Minister of Health has been more discreet with his defenses. While he was to speak after the Defense Council of September 11 to unveil the decisions, he had his place stolen at the last moment by Prime Minister Jean Castex. During this closed session at the Elysee Palace, the professional neurologist was not at the party. Emmanuel Macron has rebutted his proposal to close bars and restaurants in certain red zones earlier. “We must see if we can not play on the hourly amplitude for Marseille, Bordeaux and Guadeloupe”, then pleads the minister.
“The Ministry of Health is not the most responsive”
Around the table, some participants tickle and point out to him that the young people deprived of a last beer will end their evening in apartments, creating possible clusters. The head of state shifts and asks his minister curtly to focus on the urgent: the tests. The wait times for getting tested and getting results are disproportionately long. Emmanuel Macron calls for priority queues in laboratories for nursing staff, people with symptoms and contact cases. This request, he recalls, he had already formulated in the Defense Council in mid-August. It has therefore remained a dead letter …
The pressure on Olivier Véran is increasing. His administration has come under fire from criticism, even within the executive. “The Ministry of Health is not the most responsive,” creaks a minister. The antigenic tests, the saliva tests, the approvals, it drags on… There is a part of this ministry which does not seem to be in a state of emergency ”.
Another member of the government adds: “Is this the right ministry to handle logistics issues? “. Another breath: “the health agencies are very disorganized, it’s annoying”. In the sights: Public Health France, the national public health agency, and especially the regional health agencies (ARS), on the front line on tests. “Administrations are hyper-powerful in health, very difficult to move,” laments an adviser to the executive. Do not throw any more!
The minister is heating his phone
These criticisms piss off the boss. “My administration was able to carry out medical evacuations in record time, with medical trains, retorts Olivier Véran. We went to 1.2 million tests per week, so more than the target initially set. In six weeks, we also signed the Ségur de la santé with all the unions. “
But, in private, the minister has often expressed his dissatisfaction to his relatives over the dysfunctions of Public Health France and his perplexity over the health choices defended by the Directorate General of Health. At the same time, he has already summoned the executives of the Public Assistance – Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) in his office to bang his fist on the table.
To break the locks, Véran also heats the phone. Last weekend, he called private and public laboratories, experts accustomed to television sets to understand why the screening circuit is so congested. “Some labs are lacking reagents while the neighbor had plenty. We need coordination units per territory and make the private and the public work more together, ”sighs Olivier Véran. A minister who is not at the end of his sentences.