Hospitals are increasingly using doctors or nurses, through temporary agencies. According to a publication from the Department of Research Animation, Studies and Statistics (Dares) of the Ministry of Labor, published this Thursday, September 14 at 6 p.m., “in six years, the rate of use of temporary workers in the hospital sector of temporary employment companies is increasing regularly: it goes from 0.2% at the end of March 2017 to 0.4% at the end of March 2023.
This trend is particularly important for nurses. “The call for temporary nurses has increased sharply since the start of 2021: in the first quarter of 2023, it is higher than for other nursing staff (0.7% compared to 0.2%). The Dares study, however, notes that “all professional sectors combined, the rate of use of temporary work remains low in public and private hospitals at the start of 2023: it reaches respectively 0.3% and 0.8% compared to 1 .7% on average across the entire tertiary sector.”
If the figures appear modest, however, it is because the Dares study only concerns the effective use by hospitals of doctors or nurses who sign contracts with temporary employment companies. “In reality, when we build our schedules, we also sign a lot of private contracts directly with doctors or nurses, for very short periods, of a few days or a few weeks. This is a form of mercenarism which is developing, without going through temporary employment agencies. In the end, it is estimated that doctors or nurses who intervene occasionally represent 10 to 20% of the workforce, depending on the hospital,” explains an establishment director.
It is precisely to combat this rise in mercenarism that the Rist law was implemented on April 3, by putting in place a cap on childcare rates for 24 hours. The aim was to prevent a drift towards “cannibalistic” temporary work, as described by the Minister of Health then in office, François Braun, who considered that this type of activity “unfairly remunerates medical nomadism, destroys the cohesion of teams, locks establishments that use it in a vicious circle.” In some cases, the income of “mercenary” doctors could be as much as 6,500 euros per week. And nurses could receive up to 3,000 euros per week... creating situations of tension with their regular colleagues, with much lower emoluments.
This cap led to an angry movement from the National Union of Hospital Replacement Doctors (SNMRH), which called on its members not to accept these new rates, and to no longer come to work, causing vast disorganization in many establishments in the spring. 2023.
Directors of establishments had to organize themselves to cope. “We mobilized intensely to find solutions and adapt to this new situation. It took a little while. Although improvements may have occurred locally, there is still a shortage of nurses and doctors. But we hope that with the recent announcements by the government of the upgrading of night and weekend shifts, this will improve things,” said Jérôme Goeminne, president of the union of public health managers, and director of the Cœur hospital group. Great East.
The situation remains tense in hospitals, in terms of human resources, and the autumn period, with the return of epidemics, could be complicated to manage.