About-France.com

Getting medical help in France .....

About-France.com    More than just a travel guide
     This page offers general and useful information for tourists needing medical help, or wanting to see a doctor in France. A benign medical incident can sometimes become a disaster when a traveller doesn't know how to find help. The information below will help you prepare your trip to France, and let you know what to do if you need to call a doctor, or take someone to hospital.

See also:
The French health care system


Map of France

►► Site guide
Full site index
Search About-France.com
    Find information by keyword
France in Brief
►► Principal chapters on About-France.com :
Guide to the regions of France
Beyond Paris, a guide to the French regions and their tourist attractions.
Guide to Paris
Make the most of your trip to Paris; Information on attractions, Paris hotels, transport,  and lots more. 
Tourism in France
The main tourist attractions and places to visit in France - historic monuments, art galleries, seasides, and more
Planning a trip to France 
Information on things to do before starting your trip to France.
Travel round France without a car 
Other means of transport and travel in France - train, plane, canal and even on foot.
Accommodation in France 
Guide to French hotelsGites and holiday cottages, hostels, and camping 
Maps of France
Cities, towns, departments, regions, climate, wine areas and other themes.
The French way of life 
A mine of information about life and living in France, including working in France, living in France, food and eating, education, shopping.
A-Z dictionary of France
Encyclopedic dictionary of modern France - key figures, institutions, acronyms, culture, icons, etc.
►► Other key pages :
Climate and weather 
What weather to expect in different regions of France
Regional map of France
Winter sports in France
School holiday calendars  2012-2015
Annual holiday planner
French wine guide
►►Other  popular pages
Moving to France
French perfume
The towns & cities of France
►►More pages for students.... 
French institutions
  A guide to the main institutions of France - politics, administration, justice, education, health system, etc.
The French language 
Studying & learning French in France
Travel websites directory
Online French grammar
More....


On this page Emergency numbers Insurance Finding a doctor Paying & reimbursement Essential medical terms


  Sickness, accidents:  what to do in an emergency in France 


ROAD ACCIDENTS:  
For what to do in the event of a road accident: see Driving in France: accidents

Emergency telephone numbers:

►►► Call 15 : this is the national emergency number for medical aid. It will get you the SAMU service, with an ambulance (Service d'Aide Médical d'Urgence - or Medical Emergency Aid Service). Be prepared to indicate exactly where you are located, and the circumstances of the incident.

Call 18: this is the general emergency number, like 999 in the UK, which will get you connected to the most appropriate service.

Call 112: this is the standard European emergency number. Though be careful, if you are near a land border, for instance in Alsace, a call to 112 from a mobile phone may get directed to the emergency services in the neighbouring country.

For more emergency numbers in Paris, see column right.

Before you travel - health insurance & the EHIC card :

Health: Visitors from European Union countries (i.e. the United Kingdom, Ireland, etc.) are strongly advised to make sure that they have health insurance cover before travelling to France or any other foreign country. For France, UK visitors should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which has replaced the old E 111 form.

The EHIC, which is usually issued for up to five years, covers any medical treatment you may need during your visit to France, as a result of accident or sickness. The card gives access to treatment by doctors, dentists, and in public hospitals, or private clinics operating within the French "sécurité sociale" (health service) framework. Note that the EHIC does not normally cover the full cost of medical treatment in France or other countries; the NHS recommends that all travellers also take out private health insurance, to cover the difference.

Visitors who do not come from EU countries must take out private health insurance cover in order to benefit from France's excellent state health service.

Finding a doctor / hospital / ambulance in France 

France has a dense network of medical practitioners, and there are doctor's surgeries (doctor's offices - for Americans)  (called "cabinets")  even in very small towns. Many doctors operate joint practices, though many have their own private surgeries / offices. To find a doctor, ask any local resident, or find a chemists and enquire.  In theory, you can go to the surgery of any GP during opening hours.
     The number of hospitals in France is falling, as cost-cutting measures are introduced; but it is still possible to find a hospital with some kind of accident or emergency service in most medium-sized towns. Look for signs for "Hôpital" or (why use one word when two are possible!) "Centre hospitalier". In bigger towns or cities, look for signs to the CHR (Centre hospitalier régional) or CHU (centre hospitalier universitaire).

Home visits: if the patient is too sick to move, a doctor will make a home visit. Ask your hotel / campsite / gite owner or neighbour to call a local medic. The cost is slightly higher than a surgery visit; payment and refunding are the same as for a surgery visit.

Sunday and night time calls: in all big towns, and some smaller ones too, doctors and chemists' remain on duty by rota. Local gendarmeries (police stations) can usually provide the phone number of the duty doctor and chemists (médecin de garde, pharmacie de garde); alternatively, ring round local chemists shops until one answers. Doctors are often quite happy to do night calls; often these are done by young doctors, who appreciate the extra payment for coming out at anti-social hours.

Paperwork, formalities:

If you see a doctor, or a hospital, you will be given a signed "feuille de soins" (a statement of the treatment carried out), and possibly an "ordonnance" (a prescription).  These must be kept carefully, as you will need to send them in in order to claim reimbursement. You will need to take the "ordonnance" to a chemists, where you will have to pay for the items. If you have an EHIC card, you will be reimbursed later, (see below), and your medicines will probably end up costing you quite a bit less than they would have cost in the UK.

The current cost of a standard visit to a GP (general practitioner) in France is 23 € (Spring 2013) . For payment and reimbursement, see below. Visits to specialists and to the hospital cost more, as do home visits and visits at night and weekends.
    There is a non-refundable daily hospital board and lodging fee of 18€, called the forfait hospitalier; this is in addition to medical fees. Note that French hospitals do not generally have wards. In-patients are most commonly accommodated in twin rooms, though sometimes rooms with up to four beds. Single rooms can usually be obtained, at an extra cost that may or may not be reimbursed.

Paying, and getting reimbursed: 

The standard principle of the French health service is "pay first, reclaim, then get reimbursed"; but for this does not always apply in the event of hospital treatment.
  • Travellers with an EHIC card will be refunded about 70 per cent of standard doctors' and dentists' fees, and between 35% and 65% of the cost of most prescribed medicines. Some common items such as bandages and comfort medicines are refunded at the lower rate, or not at all. 
  • Doctors visits and hospital out-patient treatment: Unless you are the holder of a French "Carte Vitale" (available to certain foreign residents) you must pay for treatment and then claim a partial refund from the local Health Insurance Office (Caisse Primaire d'Assurance-Maladie or CPAM) in France. Ask the doctor / hospital for the address of the local CPAM office.
    If you are treated as an in-patient in an approved hospital (state hospital or recognised private clinic) and show your EHIC card, the cost of your stay and treatment will mostly be paid directly by the CPAM to the hospital. You will just be billed for the balance, plus the fixed daily hospital charge ('forfait journalier'); these are non-refundable under EHIC, which is why it is important to have private health insurance cover as well.  
If you do not have an EHIC card, you will need to pay for your health care and contact your private insurance for reimbursement. In the event of hospitalisation, check with your insurer.

Further information: The CPAM of the Haute Vienne department, in the west of France, has a useful website in English, giving full details of procedures, rates, costs etc.

Essential medical terms in French:

  • Doctor: un médecin [earn med-sanne]
  • Where's there a doctor's surgery? Où est-ce qu'on peut trouver un cabinet médical ?    [oo eskonn peur trouvay ern cabinay may-dicarl ]
  • Emergency: une urgence [oon oor-jonse]
  • Medecine: médicament(s)  [may-dee-ca-mon])
  • Ill, sick: malade [ma-larde]
  • Chemists : une pharmacie [oon farm-assee]
  • I'm very sore here / it hurts here:  J'ai très mal ici [zhay tray mall eesee]
  • We need to find a doctor urgently. Nous avons besoin de voir un médecin au plus vite. C'est urgent.

Emergency in Paris:

English-speaking pharmacies:
British Pharmacy
62, Avenue des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris
0143 59  82 30

British-American pharmacy,
1 rue Auber, 75009
0142 65 88 29

English-language crisis line;
SOS-Help
Daily 3 pm - 11pm
01 46 21 46 46

General medical emergency - Paris
Tel 0147 07 77 77
or  36 22
Alternative service
0153 94 94 94

Poisoning
Anti-poison centre
Tel  45 45

24 hr chemist / pharmacies :


a) Paris 3 :
Pharmacie
5  Place de la République
tel 0148 00 18 08
Metro République

b) Paris 8
84, av des Champs-Elysées 
tel 0145 62 02 41
Metro George V

c) Paris 9
6, place Clichy
tel 0148 74 65 18 .
Metros: Rome or Blanche

d) Paris 12
Pharmacie Porte de Vincennes
86 Boulevard Soult
Tel 0143 43 13 68
Metro Porte de Vincennes

e) Paris 13 Pharmacie Tolbiac
61 Av. d'Italie
0144 24 19 72
Metro Tolbiac

f) Paris 15
Pharmacie Centrale, 52 rue du Commerce
Tel 0145 79 75 01
Metros Commerce or Emile Zola


Advertisements


Click for
cheap car hire in France