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300 French doctors flee to Britain in protest


Blackleaf

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May 11, 2005

It's not a holiday, say 300 French doctors at Pontins

By Sam Coates

“THIS is definitely not a holiday,” insisted one of the striking French surgeons as he and 300 comrades ambled past the indoor swimming pool and crazy golf course and into the Queen Victoria pub, the principal hostelry of Pontin’s in Camber Sands, Sussex.

Within half an hour they had changed their minds — for the day at least. A meeting scheduled for midday was pushed back to the evening, so that many headed straight for the beach and others to nearby pubs, while yet more took the bus into Rye to spend time in the lattice-windowed tea shops and souvenir markets.

So began one of the most eccentric protests that the pretty seaside town of Camber Sands has yet seen. Seven coaches arrived at lunchtime from the Ashford Eurostar terminal, carrying the cream of the French medical profession.

Members of Surgeons of France, which claims to represent 16,000 surgeons in private practice, are spending four days in Britain to form a new trade union, push for radical reform and demand higher salaries from the French Government.

The group has brought its protest to Britain because a quirk in French law means that the police can force them to work in spite of the strike if they remain at home. About 1,000 surgeons paid the €400 (£275) to take part in the protest, but two thirds failed to show up for the Eurostar train yesterday morning. A member of the surgeons’ group claimed that police had prevented 400 from travelling. This is the second time such a trip has been attempted. The group had planned a visit to Wembley in August, but it was cancelled at the last minute after the French Government signed an agreement promising increased fees and night-shift payments.

The surgeons say that this money has failed to materialise, even though Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Health Minister, insists that the deal is being implemented.

This revolt is being led by Philippe Cuq, a vascular surgeon from Toulouse, whose footsoldiers include orthopaedic surgeons, cardiac specialists and anaesthetists, many of whom earn between €200,000 and €300,000 (£137,00- £205,000) a year. They say that wages have risen only with inflation for more than a decade, while insurance premiums have increased eightfold in the p ast five years.

“Surgeons feel betrayed and are determined to show it,” M Cuq said before he boarded the Eurostar.

Didier Messens, a surgeon from Nîmes, said that the surgeons had chosen Britain because it was leading the world in healthcare reform. “We admire the changes that have been made to the British health system, and we can see why the improvements helped Tony Blair’s re-election. While your NHS has been getting better, ours has been going in the opposite direction.”

A journalist from France 2, the television network, said: “For me it is particularly strange because only very recently I covered the English patient who had to have an operation in Dunkirk, at the expense of the NHS in Kent, because of the problems the British system was experiencing. Now this seems to have reversed.”

Few were sure why they had chosen Pontin’s. “I suppose this is discreet. It is not like we are staying at the Hilton in Park Lane. That would generate bad publicity,” Simon Brami, a cosmetic surgeon from Champagne, said.

However, several were taken aback when they arrived at the camp, dominated by 1960s bungalow architecture and coloured lights, that was to be their home for the next few days.

“It is just like our Village Vacances Familles. This is — I don’t know the translation — rustaud,” one said, using the French word for tacky.

dailymail.co.uk

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The group has brought its protest to Britain because a quirk in French law means that the police can force them to work in spite of the strike if they remain at home.

A quirk? Forced? Is this socialized, cause if it was there wouldn't be these problems right?

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Amazing, a topic on the Frence and the very first line into it the word Striking is written, now why does that not surprize me?

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haha when I read that line the first time I read striking as the extraordinarily handsome kind of striking, not the protest kind

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Sorry I did not read on after that as it made me smile.

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Good to see that the world is never lacking people striking for one reason or another!

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Why is it the French seem to strike every day of the year,there must be a lot of unhappy french people going about

Dont the French surgeons understand that the only reason british patients are getting operations done in france with NHS money is to keep the figures down so it looks good when they spraf of abouthow the NHS is working,if it was they would not have to go to France in the first place angry.gif

Being made to work by the police,what a country tongue.gif

Wonder when Chirac will come to pointins for a two week break

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hehe the NHS is probably the most sustainable public healthcare service in europe, you'll see in a few more years

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hehe the NHS is probably the most sustainable public healthcare service in europe, you'll see in a few more years

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Try black-hole

Must get a thread started soon about scraping the NHS and get people to take insurance out on their family to pay for medical treatment,ah the poor and scroungers will hate that

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