If you are a foreigner in France you may need to know how to find a doctor in France. If you have private healthcare or home state cover such as Emergency Insurance Health Card (EHIC, UK), the cost of visiting a doctor may be reimbursed – you must keep all the paperwork to ensure this.
There are English-speaking doctors, dentists and opticians in most large cities and as English is taught in schools you’ll usually find that even in rural areas a little English is spoken.
There are several ways to find a doctor in France – your neighbours will normally happily recommend a local doctor as will the local pharmacy and the staff at the town hall. You can also search in the French yellow pages for your area – Pages Jaunes – in the key word section “Quoi, Qui” type in “médécin” and specify the area where you are searching.
You can also use the L’Assurance Maladie website – it is in French but easy to use. Click on the section “un professional de santé” (health professional), in the section marked “Profession” type “medecin generaliste” (General Practitioner) and in the section marked “Ou?” (Where) type your post code or the town name. Click “Rechercher” (Find) to get results. Note that if you type in the name of a small town with no doctor the site will return no results – in that case it is necessary to put in the post code and then the site will return the nearest results.
A standard visit to the Doctor is around 22 Euros and usually you pay the doctor directly in cash or by cheque (French banks only) – they generally do not take credit cards. You should not have to wait long to see a doctor – often an appointment will be made the same day. There is no paperwork to fill in – the Doctor will ask basic details such as your name, age and address which is needed for him/her to complete a prescription.
If you need a home visit this can be arranged. If you are on holiday and need a doctor ask at the hotel, holiday site or a neighbour etc. to give you details or to call a local doctor. You will have to pay for the visit but if you have private healthcare of home state emergency medical cover you will get reimbursed the same as for a surgery visit.
If the Doctor prescribes medicine, make sure that you retain your copy of the prescription (ordonnance) for reimbursement. The rate that you are recompensed varies according to the type of medicine.
Doctors are not allowed to advertise in France, including whether they speak English or not but you can just call the Doctor’s surgery and ask if they speak English if it is important.
Helpful medical terms to assist you at the Doctor’s surgery/office.