European Union of Private Hospitals

Private clinics and hospitals will go on total strike from 3 June

Statements by Lamine Gharbi, President of the French Federation of Private Hospitals (FHP)

The strike, which will affect 1,030 establishments employing more than 200,000 healthcare professionals, including 40,000 self-employed practitioners, is a firm response to the government’s decision to increase funding for private hospitals by just 0.3%, while public hospitals will receive an increase of 4.3% – fourteen times more for the public sector than for the private sector. By making these extremely critical choices, the government has decided to jeopardise private clinics and hospitals which account for 35% of all hospital activity, but only 18% of health insurance expenditure for health establishments. Their crucial role in the local territorial network guarantees access to care for millions of French citizens, but this mission is now being compromised by political decisions of unprecedented violence.

Clearly the same criteria have not been applied to public and private hospitals. While hospital activity as a whole has not returned to its 2019 level, efficient players cannot be blamed for having mobilised more: between 2022 and 2023, the private sector has contributed to catching up on post-Covid care for 400,00 patients.

In 2023, the public sector received over two billion euros in additional funding for activities that have not been carried. Private health establishments have not received any significant State aid. All they received was the revenue generated by their activities, which were maintained despite an uncovered inflationary context that reduced the margins of even the most diligent health care providers! With regard to the exceptional aid for inflation, although €500 million was allocated to all players, the private sector received only 15% of the budget, even though it accounts for 35% of hospital activity (i.e. €75 million out of an uncovered financing requirement of €840 million). This decision was already based on the same discriminatory mechanism as the pricing campaign.

Moreover, the denial of essential financing for wage increases within the private sector, while such provisions are extended to healthcare professionals across other establishments, is also unacceptable. This decision, which has disastrous consequences, was taken without any consultation with those involved in the sector, and is exacerbating an already critical situation in which costs are rising exponentially while tariffs remain insufficient to ensure the viable management of establishments.

What is extremely worrying is that the proportion of private hospitals in deficit, which rose from 25% to 40% between 2021 and 2023, will reach the alarming level of over 60% in 2024.

In light of the regrettable lack of transparency and consultation with the Deputy Minister for Health, the FHP is also announcing that it will limit its interactions with the Ministry and the Health agencies (ARS) to essential dialogue only. Moreover, the FHP is pledging to explore all available legal avenues at the national level and with each health establishment to rectify this injustice and reinstate equity.

The situation has become untenable, and we have no choice but to go on strike to make our voice heard. We cannot remain passive when confronted with a political decision that jeopardises our establishments and compromises access to care for our patients. The government must realize that by weakening the private hospital sector, it is weakening the entire healthcare system.