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Access to care: in Auch, the shock of the closure of the last clinic in the department


“Clinic sacrificed, patients sacrificed, angry employees…” This makeshift banner hung on the pediment of the Gascony polyclinic in Auch sums up the shared feeling of waste after the final closure Thursday March 16 of the private establishment, in the heart of the prefecture of 23,000 inhabitants. A thunderclap in the Gers health landscape. Especially since after months of confusion and imbroglio provoking the disarray and anger of patients and employees, it is only for a few days, back to the wall, that a scenario for ending the crisis has finally designed with the commitment to transfer activities from the clinic to Auch hospital, according to the latest information collected by The world.

But for the inhabitants in shock, reigns a feeling of lost time. The soap opera of the last clinic in activity in this rural department was endless and erratic, an illustration of a health system that was unreadable to them.

History “Carlier clinic”, as the people of Gers call it, created in 1935, has had several private buyers since 2006, until its last owner, the Toulouse group Clinavenir, closed down for good, on the grounds of prohibitive rent and a deficit of 1.5 million euros per year. Without convincing either the FO and CGT unions or the local elected officials: “We observe that the successive private buyers have never found a viable economic model”, notes Christian Laprébende, socialist mayor of Auch.

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However, the Gascogne clinic, with 110 employees and about 25 doctors, provided 60% of the surgical activity of the Gers in addition to the Auch hospital, with its 8,000 surgeries a year, some of which are exclusive, such as urology. And a “medico-surgical reception” six days a week. Also, despite the judicial liquidation pronounced on July 11, 2022, no one, among the hundred patients concerned, wanted to believe that the stress of a scheduled surgical intervention would be added the agonizing question: “Where are we going now? »

“We are all very bitter”

The “Save the Clinique de Gascogne” petition on, launched by staff, has indeed obtained more than 38,000 signatures, but the licensees express their anger, considering themselves “ lugged » for months, between real-false hopes of recovery, baroque fallback solutions, and above all the impression of a lack of anticipation and communication from health authorities and decision-makers: “We are disgusted (…) We spent seven months in receivership without anyone worrying about our fate”, clocked in at closing time Justine Boyer, nurse and employee spokesperson. “We are all very bitter, there are patients behind”added Mickaël Secco, president of the establishment’s medical commission.

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