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More than half of French nurses approaching burn-out: survey

More than half of French nurses are close to burning out, according to a survey of nearly 60,000 of them published on Sunday, which found they were struggling with cancelled holidays and increased work due to coronavirus.

The survey carried out by the national French nursing union found that 57 percent of respondents reported being in a “state of professional exhaustion”, up from 33 percent before the global Covid-19 pandemic struck France early in 2020.

The findings underline the strains being felt in the healthcare sector in Europe, which came under unprecedented pressure during the first wave of infections and now faces another surge in admissions.

The results are also likely to increase pressure on the centrist French government of President Emmanuel Macron, with more than a third of nurses saying their departments were understaffed compared to normal, and two thirds saying working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. 

One in five nurses said they had been unable to take a holiday since March.

“While there are 34,000 vacant nurses’ positions at this time in 2020… the degraded working conditions mean we risk seeing even more nurses throwing in the towel,” the union said in its statement.

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Soaring virus infection puts more French cities on alert

PARIS (AP) — Four French cities have joined Paris and Marseille in the maximum alert status to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and it appeared likely that the list would soon grow as infections soar.

Bars shut down and other severe measures are ordered under maximum alert.

Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne in the southeast and Lille in the north moved to maximum alert on Saturday when health authorities reported nearly 26,900 new daily infections in 24 hours. There were just under 5,000 new hospitalizations over the past week, with 928 of them in ICUs, and the positive rate for the increasing number of COVID-19 tests climbed to 11%. Nearly 32,690 coronavirus deaths have been counted in France, but the actual number is likely higher due to deaths at home and incomplete reporting from hospitals or rest homes.

While France girded itself for a climb in critical numbers, a consultation by the National Order of Nurses published Sunday suggested that a significant number feel tired and fed up, with 37% saying that the coronavirus pandemic is making them want to change jobs.


Nearly 59,400 nurses responded to the Oct. 2-7 internal survey on the impact of the health crisis on their working conditions, out of 350,000 in the Order of Nurses. A spokesman for the order, Adrien de Casabianca, described the survey as a “consultation” without the classic methodology of a poll.

The numbers painted a grim diagnosis of the profession and suggested that French medical facilities may not be keeping pace with the growing need, despite lessons that should have been learned from the height of the virus crisis last spring.

Of nurses in public establishments, 43% feel that “we are not better prepared collectively to respond to a new wave of infections,” according to the survey. The figure rises to 46% for nurses in the private domain. And about two-thirds of respondents say their working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the crisis.

Burnout looms, the survey shows, with 57% of respondents saying they have been professionally exhausted since the start of pandemic, while nearly half saying there’s a strong risk that fatigue will impact the quality of care patients receive.

For 37% of the nurses responding, “the crisis … makes them want to change jobs,” and 43% “don’t know if they will still be nurses in five years,” according to the survey.

The National Order of Nurses notes that 34,000 nurses’ jobs in France are currently vacant.

Nurses and other health professionals in France and elsewhere have sporadically demonstrated for higher salaries, better working conditions and more personnel, even during the pandemic. They were given small salary hikes in France starting this fall.

“Today, nurses must deal with a growth in COVID-19 cases and feel unarmed to do so,” the president of the National Order of Nurses, Patrick Chamboredon, said in a statement accompanying the survey.

With nurses “indispensable” to the functioning of the health system, “we cannot accept that,” he said.

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French nurses’ poll paints grim picture as virus cases soar

PARIS (AP) — A significant number of French nurses responding to a poll say they are tired and fed up, with 37% saying that the coronavirus pandemic is making them want to change jobs.

The poll published Sunday by the National Order of Nurses comes as COVID-19 infection rates soar across the nation.

French health authorities counted nearly 26,900 new daily infections Saturday and had four more cities join Paris and Marseille in the maximum alert category: Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne in the southeast and Lille in the north.

There were just under 5,000 new hospitalizations over the past week, with 928 of them in ICUs, and the positive rate for the increasing number of COVID-19 tests climbed to 11%. Nearly 32,690 coronavirus deaths have been counted in France, but the actual number is likely far higher, due to limited testing and missed cases.

Nearly 59,400 nurses responded to the Oct. 2-7 poll on the impact of the health crisis on their working conditions, out of 350,000 in the Order of Nurses. The numbers painted a grim diagnosis of the profession and suggested that French medical facilities may not be keeping pace with the growing need, despite lessons that should have been learned from the height of the virus crisis last spring.

Of nurses in public establishments, 43% feel that “we are not better prepared collectively to respond to a new wave of infections,” according to the poll. The figure rises to 46% for nurses in the private domain. And about two-thirds of respondents say their working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the crisis.

Burnout looms, the poll shows, with 57% of respondents saying they have been professionally exhausted since the start of pandemic, while nearly half saying there’s a strong risk that fatigue will impact the quality of care patients receive.


For 37% of the nurses responding, “the crisis … makes them want to change jobs,” and 43% “don’t know if they will still be nurses in five years,” according to the poll, which did not provide a margin of error.

The National Order of Nurses notes that 34,000 nurses’ jobs in France are currently vacant.

Nurses and other health professionals in France and elsewhere have sporadically demonstrated for higher salaries, better working conditions and more personnel, even during the pandemic. They were given small salary hikes in France starting this fall.

“Today, nurses must deal with a growth in COVID-19 cases and feel unarmed to do so,” the president of the National Order of Nurses, Patrick Chamboredon, said in a statement accompanying the poll.

With nurses “indispensable” to the functioning of the health system, “we cannot accept that,” he said.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong

PARIS (AP) — Over the course of a single overnight shift this week, three new COVID-19 patients were rushed into Dr. Karim Debbat’s small intensive care ward in the southern French city of Arles. His service now has more virus patients than during the pandemic’s first wave, and is scrambling to create new ICU beds elsewhere in the hospital to accommodate the sick.

Similar scenes are playing out across France. COVID-19 patients now occupy 40% of ICU beds in the Paris region, and nearly a quarter in ICUs nationwide, as several weeks of growing infections among young people spread to vulnerable populations.

Despite being one of the world’s richest nations — and one of those hardest hit when the pandemic first washed over the world — France hasn’t added significant ICU capacity or the staff needed to manage extra beds, according to national health agency figures and doctors at multiple hospitals. Like in many countries facing resurgent infections, critics say France’s leaders haven’t learned their lessons from the first wave.

“It’s very tense, we don’t have any more places,” Dr. Debbat told The Associated Press. His hospital is converting recovery rooms into ICUs, delaying non-urgent surgery and directing more and more of his staff to high-maintenance COVID patients. Asked about extra medics to help with the new cases, he said simply, “We don’t have them. That’s the problem.”

When protesting Paris public hospital workers confronted French President Emmanuel Macron this week to demand more government investment, he said: “It’s no longer a question of resources, it’s a question of organization.”

He defended his government’s handling of the crisis, and noted 8.5 billion euros in investment promised in July for the hospital system. The protesting medics said the funds are too little and too slow in coming, after years of cost cuts that left France with half the number of ICU beds in 2020 that it had in 2010.


ICU occupancy rates are considered an important indicator of how saturated the hospital system is and how effective health authorities have been at protecting at-risk populations.

And France’s numbers aren’t looking good.

It reported more than 18,000 new daily cases Thursday, and virus patients now occupy 1,427 ICU beds nationwide — a figure that has doubled in less than a month. France’s overall ICU capacity is 6,000, roughly the same as in March, according to national health agency figures provided to the AP.

For comparison, Germany entered the pandemic with about five times as many intensive care beds as France, which has a similarly well-developed health care system and slightly smaller population. To date, Germany’s confirmed virus-related death toll is 9,584 compared to 32,521 in France.

Getting ICU capacity right is a challenge. Spain was caught short in the spring, and has expanded its permanent ICU capacity by about 1,000 beds. Britain expanded ICU capacity by building emergency field hospitals. Because they were barely used, the so-called Nightingale hospitals have been mothballed. However, the British government says they can be utilized again

Novak Djokovic enters French Open semi-finals but faces fitness battle

Video: Serena pulls out of French Open with Achilles injury (Reuters)

Serena pulls out of French Open with Achilles injury

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Novak Djokovic is still in the French Open – but only after a drawn-out struggle in four sets on Wednesday night against Pablo Carreño Busta, the Spaniard who cashed in at the US Open when the world No 1 was disqualified for striking a line official with a spare ball. It was not a joyous reunion.



Novak Djokovic is swinging a racket at a ball: Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


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Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A month after their shared New York drama, Carreño Busta had notions of winning on his own merits after taking the first set of the second quarter-final on day 11, but Djokovic ignored nagging pain in his upper left arm and his neck as he cobbled together a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win in 3hr 10min under the lights on Court Philippe Chatrier. He has two days to recover before playing Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, and he will need every waking hour of them.



Novak Djokovic is swinging a racket at a ball: Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during his French Open quarter-final victory against Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.


© Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during his French Open quarter-final victory against Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.

Related: Rafael Nadal weathers cold and Jannik Sinner to reach French Open semi-final

If the 2016 champion is to win the title again he has to beat injury, an in-form Tsitsipas and, probably, the 12-time champion, Rafael Nadal, who plays Diego Schwartzman in the other semi-final. It is the sort of mountain Djokovic loves climbing, but the question remains: is he fit and strong enough to reach the summit?

Djokovic was cleared to play in Rome, where he beat Schwartzman in the final, and in Paris after testing positive for coronavirus on his Balkans exhibition tour earlier in the summer – but he looked a physical mess in the first set. Sweating and anxious, he grimaced, tugged at his arm and bandaged neck and tried to bang life into his upper legs with his racket as his opponent waited for his chances.

The tournament physio massaged Djokovic’s arm during the break and the player told him: “It feels better now.” Yet he did not look remotely comfortable, even when he got his serve working and levelled at a set apiece. The trainer returned between the third and fourth games, and it seemed to lift Djokovic’s spirits. Just when he looked as if he was slipping into a confused state again, he bounced back to level at a set apiece.

Related: Petra Kvitova sets up French Open semi-final meeting with Sofia Kenin

He broke early in the third, overcame a blip when Carreño Busta broke back for 2-3, then hit hard again to go a set up. But he looked far from commanding. Carreño Busta dug his heels into the Roland Garros clay in the fourth, and Djokovic had to fight for every point. Carreño Busta chose a woeful option to hand him the break for 3-4, Djokovic saved break point to hold through deuce

French Open plays on amid new coronavirus restrictions and after Alexander Zverev fever

On Saturday evening, France recorded nearly 17,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, its largest single-day increase since it began recording daily tallies. Authorities hope that new temporary restrictions will reduce pressure on hospitals, which have begun to see increases in patients admitted to intensive care wards.

“We are all aware that we are entering a new phase,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Monday, adding that the virus was here to stay for the immediate future. “We have to work together to protect the most vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, the French Open plays on.

Paris’s new restrictions throw the health protocols at the year’s final major tournament into sharp relief, and not just because of the virus raging outside the confines of Roland Garros.

On Sunday, recent U.S. Open runner-up Alexander Zverev said in a news conference that he had a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and was feeling so sick that he should not have competed in his fourth-round match against Jannik Sinner, which he lost.

“What can I say? I’m completely sick. I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice,” Zverev said Sunday.

Unlike at the U.S. Open, which was played in New York in September, players competing at the French Open are not living in a so-called bubble.

Players were tested upon arrival and are tested every five days thereafter, and everyone from Novak Djokovic on down must stay at a designated player hotel throughout the tournament. Players are prohibited from leaving the hotel when not competing at the risk of disqualification.

But the hotel, the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, is not being used exclusively for French Open players and members of their teams. Anyone who wishes to book a room can.

“I will not call it a ‘bubble,’ because [I] don’t think it’s a bubble,” Djokovic said after his 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 fourth-round win over Karen Khachanov on Monday. “But it is a safe environment, controlled environment. We are obviously just operating in two locations between the hotel and tennis courts.”

The French Tennis Federation said Zverev did not make tournament officials aware of his symptoms before his match. Any lingering fever upon his arrival at the site Sunday would have gone undetected, because the tournament is not taking daily temperature readings from players.

The German, ranked seventh in the world, has not missed a test in Paris.

“Zverev is up to date on his tests, which have all been negative,” the French Tennis Federation said in a statement. “His last test was on September 29, with results received on September 30. [Sunday] he received a reminder for his next test, to be carried out within 5 days of the previous results.”

On Sunday, tournament organizers said two players in the junior girls’ tournament beginning this week tested positive for the virus and were removed from the draw.

Zverev, who took a medical timeout during his match, said he regretted taking the court.

“To be honest, I warmed up today, I shouldn’t have