Paris (AFP)

A "symbolic" but "unprecedented" rebellion: more than 1,100 hospital doctors pledged on Tuesday to resign from their administrative functions if Agnès Buzyn does not open "real" negotiations on the hospital budget and the increase in wages.

"The hospital must be reformed, but there is no great reform possible without means", write the signatories of a letter addressed to the Minister of Health and published by Liberation, denouncing "the insufficiency" of the plan released in late November.

"It is to alert you solemnly that we have taken on all responsibility the unprecedented and difficult decision to resign collectively from January 14, 2020 if by that date negotiations are not under way", warn these "heads of service, responsible for 'functional units' and other 'pole managers' from all over France.

All are calling for "a significant revaluation of salaries, in addition to the various bonuses announced", an additional extension of 600 million euros for hospitals in 2020 and "a major review" of their mode of financing and their governance.

No question of stopping treatment. It is a question of giving up the role of "conductor" and of interlocutor with the administration, in particular for the management of schedules or during meetings "whose only theme is financial or economic", explained the professor Stéphane Dauger, member of the Inter-Hôpitaux collective and head of the pediatric resuscitation department at Robert Debré, during a press point at La Pitié-Salpêtrière.

A meeting attended by Professor Agnès Hartemann, head "resigned" from the diabetology department of the same establishment, with "emotion" and "the impression of going to a funeral", that of its "title" and "a bit like that of the public hospital".

Lack of staff, race for activity and time-consuming "Excel tables", feeling of being a "robot" obsessed with the patient's discharge date, work overload such that it is necessary to "sort the patients" to spare the nurses ... The table drawn up by Pr Hartemann, "ethically unbearable", is not new.

- "Water drop" -

But the crisis has crossed a level with the shortage of nurses, "one after the other", she is alarmed.

"There are 400 vacancies for nurses in public assistance - Paris Hospitals", where 900 beds have been closed for lack of staff, said his colleague, Professor Xavier Mariette, head of the rheumatology department of Bicêtre hospital.

Hence the primary demand for an increase of 300 euros net of wages, taken over by the Inter-Urgences collective, at the origin of the unprecedented strike which spread since March to the whole hospital and still affected 267 services of 'emergencies in early January.

The high point of the movement, supported in particular by the unions, several thousand hospital patients had paraded all over France on November 14.

A "coding strike" - that is to say the transmission of information enabling establishments to invoice their acts to Health Insurance - was also launched in certain departments more than three months ago.

The government's response? "A plan of 1.5 billion over three years which makes it, when we dissect it, is only 200 million per year", a "drop of water" compared to the annual budget of the hospital, of " 85 billion ", indignant Professor Mariette.

Agnès Buzyn assured Tuesday before the Parliament that she "will receive (t) the collective at the end of the week" to "explain to them to what point today the proposed measures answer exactly the stakes" pointed out. In particular the recovery of a third of the hospital debt over three years (10 billion euros), which will generate between "800 million and 1 billion in cash per year", or "much more than what the collective claims" .

But it is a "budgetary correction" that demand the resigners, already supported by some 5,000 health professionals, signatories of a text also published in Liberation.

A hundred white coats gathered in the hall of the Faculty of Mercy at midday to applaud the participants of the press conference.

And a new day of mobilization on February 14 is being studied with the unions, the Inter-Hôpital collective planning to meet in a national general assembly on January 26.

© 2020 AFP