the need for higher wages

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“World” editorial. The words are not trivial. If the meeting with the social partners which opens on Monday 25 May at the Ministry of Health has been baptized “Ségur de la santé” it is by reference to the Grenelle Agreements which had been concluded during the May 68 crisis. collective memory, these agreements remain as one of the great social events of the Ve Republic. However, it was in search of the social turning point in his five-year term that Emmanuel Macron left.

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In recent weeks, the President of the Republic has not skimped on signals to say that he has finally taken stock of the crisis that is shaking the hospital. The President of the Republic even went so far as to admit that a “Error in strategy” was committed during the development of the plan “My health 2022” announced in September 2018. This is similar to a self-criticism and a disavowal of the Minister of Health at the time, Agnès Buzyn, who continues, despite everything , to wear the colors of La République en Marche in the municipal battle in Paris.

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At the time, this plan was welcomed. Designed globally by a professional from the hospital world, it tried to better articulate city medicine and hospital in order to relieve the latter of tasks that should not have been his responsibility. But, over the months, it became clear that the remedy was not up to the burnout that threatens hospital staff, especially nurses, who are both overworked and poorly paid. The emergency crisis ended up becoming the whole hospital crisis. The government twice tried to seal it off with bonuses and targeted investments until the Covid 19 epidemic revealed that the system was on the verge of cracking and that this represented a risk for the country. unacceptable.

Lack of recognition

At the cost of remarkable adaptation, the hospital resisted the first epidemic wave. Those who make it live have become heroes, applauded every evening at 8 p.m. In the eyes of the grateful nation, they have become the symbol of all those professionals who, in the vital sense of the term, have enabled the country to hold on despite the lack of recognition from which they suffer. At the public hospital, a nurse earns 2,305 euros net monthly and a nursing assistant, 1,781 euros net monthly, according to figures from the ministry. In the OECD ranking, France ranks among the countries that pay them the poorest. This is unacceptable. Emmanuel Macron must accept that the rescue of the hospital first requires a substantial gesture on wages and careers. The anger is such that he is no longer entitled to error.

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The decision is not without risk, since it amounts to touching the salary scale of the hospital public service, and therefore to stirring up demands throughout the public sector. At a time when the country is going through a recession which will plunge the most vulnerable private workers in unemployment, civil servants must not forget that they benefit from job security, which in times of crisis is the best protections.

While essential, the question of wages does not resolve everything. The epidemic also revealed the heaviness of the French health system, over which the administration has a strong hold. Exasperated, the hospital actors demand more autonomy. This is an opportunity, as the crisis has revealed how the state’s capacity for anticipation has been undermined.

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