Euro Crisis

French Doctors Strike Against Scheme To Cap Charges

The government seems determined to alienate businesses and the professions

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MANY operating theatres will be out of action today as surgeons strike over perceived threats to their freedom and pay.

Several medical unions are calling strikes, including hospital surgeons' union Bloc, although the three largest doctors' unions, which recently came to an agreement over fees with the health minister, are not involved.

About 70% of private clinics are expected to be affected, especially in Ile-de-France, Paca and Rhône-Alpes – some closing, some putting off operations – as well as some public hospitals. However emergency wards will stay open, said Paris public hospitals body AP-HP.

The campaigners are opposed to the recent agreement placing new limits on doctors' rights to charge fees higher than the basic state tariffs (called dépassements d'honoraires) – for example Bloc thinks surgeons should be able to charge more than was agreed.