Are there General Practitioners in France?

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Are there General Practitioners in France?

Postby bien » Wed 23 Aug 2006 12:36

[Split from an unrelated topic by Site Admin. If you have a question of your own which hasn't been asked before, please start a new topic; it helps those coming after you. Please read and observe our guidelines. - Dave]

Hello. I hope somebody responded to your post. I love phtograpahy too. I have a young toddler and am always snapping away.

I think that people keep to themselves wherever you are, if I take of the rosy-tinted filter. I have been living in Switzerland for 6mth now and sometimes wonder about the same thing.

I wonder if you coudl answer a questions for me. I am finding it hard to find a few things out.

Firstly, I am a GP from England and know that certain countries have different helath systems. In England it is very biased towards the GP being the gatekeeper. Referrals to specialist, Secondary Care, only occur when a problem cannot be sorted out in Primary Care. However, some countries, especially those with Private Health Systems, tend to use mainly, or exclusively, Seconary Care in the first instance. Especially with Paediatrics - children under 5years going automatically to a specialist, Paediatrician.

I am considering a move from Switzerland to the South of France. I can only do this if the Health Sevice in France also has many General Practitioners? Also, in England now the on-call/our of hours is covered by large "Co-operatives" which supports the nights when a woman needs to be at home with the children. Does France have this system too??

Also - learning the French! I am improving on the O'level but do not know how long it would be before I could cope with the detailed level of French required to treat patients?

I am currently a so-called "trailing spouse" having followed my husband to Nestle, Switzerland six months ago and given up part-time working as a GP. I am missing my work, and all the other home-sick things.

I would GREATLY appreciate it if you could throw some light on these issues. If GPS are rare in France, it would take me at least 3years to improve the French sufficiently, and maybe you are still seen as a foreigner rather than a European, etc - I think I may return to England. I dont have too long to make this big decision.

Thank you for any help that you can give me, or anybody else reading this.

It is the beautiful summers, the proximity to the coast, the outdoor cafes, the beautiful architecture and history, the ski-ing in Winter, that attract me. Once children settle in English schools it is impossible to move them. I think she, and myself, might have a better life-style in France. There is following your dreams, and living in the real world. Where they overlap ...?
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Freinds in Haute Provence

Postby braveheart » Wed 23 Aug 2006 13:25

Hello, I am sorry to hear that you are homesick and struggling with the system.

Our area is a wonderful place to live and bring up a family for all the reasons you mention at the end of your message. We live 1 hour from the airport and the coast and 1½hrs from the mountains and Italy. the autoroute is 5 minutes from our house and there is an excellent train service to Marseille and Paris. We live in an area with excellent transport links to Europe and the north which is crucial for family and friends and for when we return to the UK.

Public services are far superior here to those in the UK including health. We have been very impressed with the health service in our area and any problems have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. I cannot comment on the out of hours service as it has not been necessary to use it so far.
The health service here is really like a private system with equitable access for all supported by a national insurance and a private insurance scheme. Which is why the French expect a very high quality of service. The general practicioner is crucial as they are responsible to the patient for their overall programme of treatment. The referral times to specialists are extremely quick in all areas, often just a few days, but it is very much up to the GP to supervise the programme of treatment and to support the patient. One key difference is the patient has full access to all their records at all times. For example, we as patients receive copies of all tests results and reports from specialists in advance of consulting the GP. However, you should know that GP's are not as well paid as in the UK which is why there are 3 to 4 times as many GP's per head of population compared with the UK. Obviously you would have to upgrade your language skills in advance of taking up a post here which is crucial in dealing with patients although medical teminology is universal. Perhaps you should find out more through a professional agency in the UK or perhaps via the European Parliament in Brussels. There may be opportunites to practice medicine in the substantial English speaking communities in France, e.g. Cote D'Azur, Dordogne, Charente Maritime and Britanny.

I wish you good luck with your decision on whether to move to the South of France. I can honestly say we do not regret our decision to move here and would recommend it. If I can be of further assistance please feel free to ask.
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Postby Jazzman » Sat 24 Mar 2007 01:04

All GPs are private, i.e. they are not salaried by the state. They bill you for their consultations which you get refunded from the Securité Sociale. if you know where it hurts, it is perfectly normal to go straight to a specialist in the first instance.

if you are not paying Securité Sociale contributions from your salary, it is essential that you take out private medical insurance. Health care is not free.
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Postby ruggie » Wed 04 Apr 2007 18:23

To work as a GP, even in the UK, it is essential to understand the locals' way of describing their problems. One UK regional health authority even wrote a guide for the non-British doctors who are now so common.
Whether you live in France, or just find the country interesting ... nts-up-50/
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Postby Pimali » Wed 04 Apr 2007 22:29

Jazzman wrote: if you know where it hurts, it is perfectly normal to go straight to a specialist in the first instance.

Be careful, the rules changed recently (2-3 years ago) and you have to go to your personal GP (not any GP any more, or you don't get your money back from the SS and from your insurance; at least, you get less money back -am I being clear? :roll: if not, sorry...)
You can go to a specialist straight away if you suffer from an illness that require seeing your specialist regularly (cardiologist, ophtalmologist, etc...) or in case of pregnancy (obstetrician).

GP's have to be seen in first instance in any case: you are not supposed to know what your illness or disease is and decide by yourself which specialist to see (that was what people used to do, it cost a fortune to the society, since the costs are supported by the social security).

Now, it is compulsory to see your GP, who is able to decide if you have to go to a specialist, and usually your GP takes the appointment for you. :wink:
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Postby Jazzman » Thu 05 Apr 2007 03:50

Wow, how the time flies since I was last il!
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Postby Pimali » Thu 05 Apr 2007 04:46

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