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France — Shortage of locum nurses drives up pay

27 August 2009

The chronic shortage of locum nurses in France has strengthened their bargaining position considerably. University hospitals and private hospitals are able to pay higher wages and therefore attract more talent than smaller and medium-sized hospitals which are strapped for cash, PresseOcean writes.

Hospital in cities like Nantes and Angers are particularly badly hit and find it difficult to attract sufficient locums at the salaries they can afford. Marc de Ternay of specialised staffing agency Aile Medicale (Synergie subsidiary) says "if 30 nurses walked through the door today we would find them a job immediately." The health section of Adecco France and l'Appel Medical (part of Randstad) are equally extremely busy.

University Hospital CHU Nantes has this year for the first time in many years recruited 50 locum nurses via temporary staffing agencies to cover only 80% of its nursing requirements.

"Local hospitals have been left behind in the locum nurses market. They come second after university hospitals who have more money and better planning. University hospitals send their staffing requirements months in advance to temporary staffing agencies."

Catherine Olivier of CFDT, the largest French union by number of members, said "hospitals literally have to shut down beds because there are not enough nurses."

Specialist hospitals on the other hand appear to have less nurses staffing problems than general hospitals. Anne-Sophie Braire of the cancer hospital 'Centre Catherine de Sienne' said "as a specialist hospital we have absolutely no recruitment problems whatsoever."



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