HEALTHCARE IN FRANCE, PART 2….As long as we’re on the topic of healthcare in France, here’s a typical experience with the system as related by an expat who’s lived in France for ten years:

I live in a rural area around 8km from the nearest village, 12km from a big village and over 20km from the nearest town.

I was cycling home when a dog collided with my bike. The animal was unhurt but I fell off, but only seemed to be in some discomfort at that point. During the night, however, the pain became excruciating so in the morning I phoned my g?n?raliste (GP) in the big village and fixed an appointment for that afternoon when my neighbour could drive me in.

I arrived 15 minutes early and was seen almost immediately. The GP telephoned the X-ray unit 3km away and explained the condition. I was told to come straightaway. I waited about 10 minutes to be x-rayed, then a further 15 minutes while the X-rays were being studied. The radiologist then explained that I had a fracture and a cracked rib. I was told to take the X-rays back to my GP immediately.

The GP studied the X-rays and decided that I should see an orthopaedic specialist. He telephoned the specialist (in the nearest big town) and I was given an appointment for the following morning. In the meantime I was prescribed painkillers, which came from the next-door pharmacy. I would at least sleep that night.

The following day I waited only a few minutes before being seen by the orthopaedic specialist, who decided that my current strapping was insufficient and my wrist and lower arm needed to be put in plaster, which he did. I should return in four weeks’ time.

Total out of pocket cost in this case, which was higher than normal because this guy has an expensive GP, was about a hundred bucks. That socialized medicine stuff is hell, isn’t it?

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