"I couldn't see myself sitting idly by …", a senator joins the health reserve

Bernard Jomier (left), senator and former assistant to Anne Hidalgo, joined the health reserve – Jacques Witt / SIPA

  • Senator Bernard Jomier, general practitioner, joined the health reserve a few weeks ago.
  • He will strengthen the Melun hospital on Thursday.

An evidence. This is how Bernard Jomier, former deputy of the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and environmental senator in the capital, describes his commitment to the health reserve. As of Thursday, this
general practitioner will put his political functions on hold to support practitioners at Melun hospital in Seine-et-Marne.

Tuesday evening, you announced on Twitter that you have joined the health reserve. Starting tomorrow, Thursday, you are helping the teams at Melun Hospital. When did you make this decision?

When I became aware of the scale of the crisis that we are going through. I have always been a caregiver, I never stopped despite my elective mandates, I did not see myself sitting idly by. I first thought of increasing my rate of consultations – I am only in the office one afternoon a week – but city medicine is dropping sharply, people will no longer seek treatment. When I discussed this with my colleagues, I realized that they could easily deal with meeting requests. It is for this reason that I decided to join the health reserve.

What are you going to do at Melun hospital?

I will strengthen a short-term hospital unit. The first days, I will be in understudy to familiarize myself with the operation of the service. But the objective is obviously to be operational as quickly as possible.

So you put your mandate as a senator in parentheses?

Today, I think I am more useful alongside my caregivers than in the Senate. Parliamentary activity is slowing down, we cannot sit at more than 18. Let there be no mistake, democratic activity must continue, it is even essential, but my fellow senators can make up for my absence on time of this crisis.

Many doctors report particularly difficult situations in hospitals. Are you anxious to face this unprecedented crisis?

Not particularly because my professional career has already led me to participate in the management of serious crises. I have long practiced tropical medicine. I worked in Africa on cholera epidemics, in Sarajevo during the war. I even practiced in Wuhan, in the hospital run by the Peugeot factory … But it was about fifteen years ago.

And do you fear for your health?

Not particularly. I am 56 years old, I am in good health. I have been offered to be a regulator at Samu, but I think it is better to reserve these positions for older colleagues. Obviously, there is always a risk but we cannot hide behind this excuse for doing nothing.

What do you think of crisis management?

This is not the time for controversy. The time for explanations will come, and I will be there too. There will be a commission of inquiry, it is essential, the government will have to explain itself on certain decisions. But for now, we need to focus on this crisis.