Despite staff deficits generating mounting tension, French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out allowing Covid-19 unvaccinated hospital employees to return to work.
During a stop at a hospital facility in Cherbourg, Manche, on May 31, the president made his position clear.
It has been required for health experts (as well as many other occupations) to get Covid vaccination or have their jobs suspended since September 15, 2021.
“I’ll be honest, reinstating unvaccinated domestics isn’t the solution to today’s problem,” Mr. Macron stated.
Some medical experts believe that non-vaccinated workers should be permitted to return since Covid is currently found in such low quantities that it has been deemed safe.
“We cannot do without these 15,000 people who have been suspended for a mistake. Amnesty must be implemented,” Dr Patrick Pelloux, president of the French emergency doctor’s association (L’Association des médecins urgentistes hospitaliers de France), stated in Le Parisien on May 17.
However, Mr. Macron went on to say that the suspended workers account for an “endless minority” of healthcare workers in France.
“Let’s be realistic: these people do not have a particularly strong connection to care and ethics when compared to the rest of their coworkers, since today 95 percent of caregivers and employees believe they are obligated to get vaccinated,” he said.
“They did it because they considered it their duty, and it was essential to their medical values.”
On April 29, while on a tour of Barbazan-Debat (Hautes-Pyrénées) the French president added: “If Covid continues to fall, we will have to consider it.”
However, on May 31, he was more cautious, stating: “I will wait for the Scientific Advisory Council to determine that we are once again in a phase where this return [of staff] is easy.”
“However, more generally, I want our country to follow through on this decision by educating and convincing carers of the need for immunization. “
Covid continues to spread throughout France, with more than 18,270 new cases reported every day. There are 952 people suffering from Covid in intensive care facilities right now. However, since July 2021, this is the lowest number of Covid patients in intensive care units.
This information is coming just days after an organization that represents small towns cautioned that several French hospitals are “experiencing a functioning decline as a result of a lack of personnel.”
On May 25, the Association of Small Towns in France (APVF) urged the new Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon to recognize the “extremely worrisome situation” of hospital emergency services.
The APVF specifically mentioned Chinon (Indre-et-Loire), Guingamp (Côtes-d’Armor), Brantôme (Charente-Maritime), Jonzac (Charente-Maritime), and Sarlat (Dordogne) as small towns with “very little activity”.
According to the Samu-Urgences de France, a minimum of 120 hospitals are having difficulties in operating due to a lack of personnel.