57% of French intensive care units lack doctors


57% of French intensive care services deplore at least one vacant post of intensive care physician against 36% in 2012, we learn from a study carried out by the College of Teachers in Intensive Resuscitation Medicine (CeMIR).

Outside the CHU, the shortage of resuscitators is even more pronounced

The resuscitation services of French hospitals are understaffed. In 2021, 329 resuscitator positions are not filled in France, against 163 in 2012, reveals the National Professional Council for intensive care medicine (CNP-MIR). In total, 57% of intensive care units deplore at least one vacant doctor’s post. The situation is particularly critical in 25% of services, where 2 positions are unfilled. The situation has also deteriorated considerably in ten years since in 2012, 36% of intensive care units “only” were affected by a lack of personnel. These figures were obtained by the College of Teachers in Intensive Resuscitation Medicine (CeMIR) from the 299 intensive care units in the French healthcare system.

Non-university hospitals are particularly affected by this shortage: 76% of them lack doctors. However, positions have been opened over the past ten years, but they have not been filled due to a lack of a sufficient number of trained resuscitators. “Consequence of this shortage of resuscitators: a significant work overload for practitioners who on average are on call every 5 days and work every other weekend, ie an involvement that clearly exceeds the limits set by the regulations”, deplores the Council.

The advanced average age of resuscitators will contribute to their insufficiency in the years to come

To be able to take care of patients, 36% of intensive care units use temporary workers. The percentage of temporary workers is particularly high in non-university hospital centers: 47% of positions are not filled there. However, in addition to its extremely high cost, the use of temporary staff has a negative impact on the stability of teams and the continuity of patient care, points out the National Professional Council for intensive care medicine (CNP-MIR).

The situation should not improve quickly. As Olfa Hamzaoui, spokesperson for the National Professional Council for Intensive Resuscitation, points out, “ to the 329 positions currently vacant, we must add more than 300 retirements of physicians over 60 years old in the next 5 years “. Indeed, 12% of active resuscitators are over 60 years old.

In March 2021, the shortage of resuscitation beds and resuscitators had already been pinpointed by the Court of Auditors.