The former Minister of Health Xavier Bertrand refused, Thursday, July 2, to take responsibility for the “Change of doctrine” which led to the evaporation of strategic masks stocks, at the heart of the questions of the parliamentary committee on the management of the Covid-19 health crisis.
The opinion of the High Council for Public Health (HCSP) of July 2011, often mentioned since the shortage of protective masks has arisen in public debate, “Does not lead us in anything to review our doctrine in relation to the number of masks to order”, he said before the deputies. Mr. Bertrand dated the real change in strategy to May 2013, after his departure from the ministry, by the General Secretariat of Defense and National Security (SGDSN), a service dependent on the Prime Minister:
“The moment when it is established that it is up to everyone to pay for their masks, it is in May 2013. (…) From this date, you have a disintegration of responsibility and the worm is in the fruit. “
Mr. Bertrand first held the post of Minister of Health between 2005 and 2007, during which time he developed the country’s first plan to prepare for the risk of an influenza pandemic, asked for the creation of stocks of masks and created the Establishment of preparation and response to health emergencies (Eprus), now absorbed by the agency Public Health France.
Olivier Véran auditioned on July 28
When he took over the portfolio in 2010, succeeding Roselyne Bachelot – who had had to manage the influenza A (H1N1) crisis -, the « sentiment » dominant was “We had done too much”, “It was all too expensive” and that he was “Maybe now is the time to save”, he recalled. The current president Les Républicains de la region Hauts-de-France assures, however, that this change in« ambiance » has not changed its priority given to the prevention of health risks.
The commission will continue its work on Monday with the hearing of Martin Hirsch, director general of the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), of Christophe Gautier, director general of the university hospitals of Strasbourg, and of the president of the service of urgent medical aid (SAMU), François Braun.
The current Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, also declared Thursday morning on RTL that he was summoned before the deputies on July 28. The Senate will launch its own commission of inquiry on July 9, with the review of the management of the health crisis in the Grand-Est region.