If you are a foreigner in France and need to see a doctor, it’s important to know how to find one. If you have private health insurance or an Emergency Insurance Health Card (EHIC) from your home country, you may be able to get reimbursed for the cost of visiting a doctor. Make sure to keep all the necessary paperwork to ensure this.
In most large cities, you can find English-speaking doctors, dentists, and opticians. Even in rural areas, it’s likely that some people will speak English as it is taught in schools.
There are a few ways to find a doctor in France. You can ask your neighbours for a recommendation or visit the local pharmacy or town hall. Another option is to make an appointment online through teleconsultation. To do this, simply call 118 418 and say “SANTÉ.”
How To Make An Appointment To See A Doctor In France
Before seeing a doctor in France, you will need to make an appointment. Many doctors are now listed on Doctolib, the platform I’ve just mentioned. Besides helping you find a doctor, you can make the appointment online if you have a French social security number, which avoids the challenge of a phone call in French!
If the doctor recommended to you is not listed on Doctolib, you must make a call, primarily in French, to book your appointment. I understand it can be challenging if you are not used to making a call in French. Therefore, it may be helpful to write down a few sentences in French with your symptoms and available dates and times. You can use your translation app to assist you with this.
During the call, you will be asked if this is your first visit to the doctor. Remember that some doctors may not accept new patients if they are already overloaded. In such cases, you may need to call other doctors.
You will also need to provide the reason for your visit and your availability. It is perfectly acceptable to ask about the doctor’s fee during the call, but
Seeing the doctor in France for an emergency
If you require a gp out of hours service in France, we recommend calling 118 418 and say the word “Health” services. A doctor will visit you at your home to provide assistance and prescribe medication if necessary.
If your regular physician is unavailable during nights, weekends, or public holidays, it is advisable to check if there is an on-call medical center nearby and their patient opening hours. More and more on-call medical centers (MMG) are now available to cover a wider area, in addition to home visits from SOS doctors. MMGs offer a quick consultation with a doctor for common health problems.
While this service is partially covered under the French public healthcare system, it is important to note that you must pay the full consultation fee, often in cash or by check. It is common for doctors in France to not have card machines, hence the continued use of checks as a mode of payment.
How Much Does A Consultation With An On-Call Doctor Cost?
Visiting a doctor in France usually costs around 40 Euros. You can pay the doctor directly in cash or by cheque, but they usually don’t accept credit cards. The wait time to see a doctor is generally short, and you can often get an appointment on the same day. There’s no paperwork to fill in, as the doctor will only ask for basic personal information such as your name, age, and address, which is necessary for completing a prescription.
If you need a home visit, you can arrange for one. In case you’re on holiday and require a doctor’s assistance, you can ask your hotel, holiday site, or even a neighbor for details or to call a local doctor. You will have to pay for the visit, but if you have private healthcare or home state emergency medical cover, you will get reimbursed the same as for a surgery visit.
If a Doctor prescribes medication to you, it is recommended that you keep a copy of the prescription (ordonnance) for reimbursement purposes. The reimbursement rate may differ depending on the type of medication. In France, Doctors are prohibited from advertising, which includes promoting their ability to speak English. However, you can always call the Doctor’s office and inquire about their language proficiency if it is important to you.