applauding is good, giving more resources is better

Nurses at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris in 1932.


We applauded them during the Covid-19 pandemic: nurses, nursing istants and nursing istants. Which warmed their hearts. To the point of imagining that they would finally be listened to, recognized, better paid. And then nothing more. Covid-19 will have been just one more great war during which everyone mobilized. Before being made invisible again.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers The forgotten heroines of Dien Bien Phu

This is what traces Nurses, our history, at the opening of the evening that France 3 devotes to caregivers. The film thus alternates interviews with a dozen professionals, with multiple historical sequences, since the creation of the first school in 1878, with an emphasis on the great figures of the profession, such as Geneviève de Galardnicknamed “the Angel of Dien Bien Phu”, or Julie Crémieux, whose Memories of a Nurse (Rouff, 1918) nourished the imagery of the heroic nurse.

Today, everyone is warning about their unworthy working conditions and salaries. Same observation, even more shocking, in We, caregivers, which extends the inventory to doctors and department heads, through a dozen testimonies, with more or less contained anger. “Medical interns can work up to ninety hours in a week for a salary below the minimum wage. Is this acceptable? », says Nicolas Winter, general practitioner. Little by little, the stories establish the genesis of the public hospital crisis: first the numerus clausus of 1971, then fee-for-service pricing, and the use of consulting firms – 1 billion euros spent by year by the ministries.

Deterioration of care

Examples of deterioration of care follow one another. Lives are in danger. Thus, a Parisian baby is transported 200 kilometers from the capital due to lack of space, warns Stéphane Dauger, head of the pediatric intensive care unit at the Robert-Debré hospital in Paris. Profitability, I tell you. Washing old people, holding the hand of a dying person, resuscitating a newborn are not profitable actions. “Why should Social Security be profitable? »asks Sabrina Ali Benali, emergency doctor in Ile-de-France. “The desire of the State is to break up the public hospital, which is too expensive”, ures Sophie Crozier, neurologist at Pitié-Salpêtrière. Then to privatize it?

Read the decryption: Article reserved for our subscribers On the front line against Covid-19, caregivers are paying a heavy price for the pandemic

As a result, Hibatullahi Trraf, head of the pediatric department at Montluçon hospital (Allier), resigns. And Marc de Matos, emergency nurse, thinks about it, exhausted. But solutions exist. But the pharmaceutical industries, medical equipment industries, or mutual insurance companies have no interest in it.

André Grimaldi, former head of the diabetology department at Pitié-Salpêtrière, remembers word for word Emmanuel Macron’s speech in March 2020, during the crisis linked to Covid-19: “Health areas must escape the laws of the market. (…) There have to be breaks, I will accept them. » Instead, new bed closures were announced. And the salary increases were “insignificant”.

Nurses, our historydocumentary by Mathilde Damoisel (Fr., 2023, 88 min) and We, caregiversdocumentary by Claire Feinstein and Gilles Perez (Fr., 2023, 2 x 52 min).

Catherine Pacary

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