franceinfo: Do private clinics and hospitals help to support intensive care patients?
Lamine Gharbi: Yes, it is a fight that we lead with public hospitalization. You should know that we are complementary. And in Île-de-France, which is today the most affected, but also the Paca region, 30% of intensive care patients are now in private clinics. It is a complementary force, a very strong supplementary force. And if the pandemic were to continue to prosper, to develop, we will, as our minister says [Olivier Véran], pushing the walls, it’s obvious.
Could you do more than a year ago, during the first wave?
I hope not ! During the first wave we had reached 7,000 patients. Today, we are at 4,600. So, please, let’s hope that the containment measures will help slow the epidemic. We do not want to reach 7,000 patients in intensive care, that would be extremely difficult. Because the difference with the first wave is that we continue to operate on urgent and serious patients in oncology, cardiac surgery and neurosurgery. And these non-Covid patients are in post-operative intensive care. But, if we had to find 7,000 beds, we would find them, that’s clear. We must reassure our fellow citizens and not add another layer of anxiety.
Does this mean that you have the human and material resources to open new resuscitation beds?
Yes of course. The material is not a problem because during the summer and the fall, thanks to the help of the government it must be said, we were able to equip ourselves with material, new respirators, syringe pumps. The difficulty is the human resources, the resuscitator-anesthetists and our nurses. In our misfortune, the luck we have is that not all regions are impacted with the same Covid density. So, it will be necessary to play on the solidarity of caregivers and strengthen the teams on the territory. There is also the solution of medical evacuations, but we can see it today, medical evacuations, it’s complicated. The people are younger, the cases heavier and, above all, our fellow citizens want to stay close to their families. Today, we can still leave the choice. Maybe tomorrow, we won’t be able to leave the choice to families. But sometimes these are not 500 km transfers. In the southern region, in the Occitanie region, we welcome patients from Paca and it is a few tens or hundreds of kilometers away.
Do private clinics also risk saturation?
Yes of course. There are saturations on some sites. Some clinics have 30 or 40 intensive care beds, we have gone up to 50 intensive care beds in the Paris region. Beyond that, it’s difficult. So we have to multiply the sites, we have obtained 90 so-called derogatory and temporary resuscitation services. They are armed, they can be further increased, that is to say, from 12 to 16 or 20 beds. We will adapt. The hospital system, despite the tensions, despite the difficulties, collaborates, cooperates hand in hand with the public service.
And you may need to deprogram operations or take charge of operations that could not be performed in the public?
No, it is a deprogramming which is identical in the two sectors. Because it is necessary to free up places in intensive care, but above all, it is necessary that the personnel who are in the operating room can be mobilized in the intensive care and intensive care departments. But there are also patients in medicine, in follow-up care who obviously require doctors and caregivers. And then, unfortunately, our caregivers are also victims of the disease, we have to deal with high rates of absenteeism, with fatigue of our staff, that’s obvious.
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