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Registering with a Doctor


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We will be moving to France later this year (Dept 66).
Must we 'register' with a General Practitioner locally, and arrange for our records to be transferred much as we would in the UK? How does it work?
Will we pay in full for all prescribed medication?
I expect the answers lie somewhere among the LF postings for this site - but we haven't found them.
Any advice (or information about reference sources)will be much appreciated.
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I don't know if my family's experiences are normal but this is what has happened to us on dotor's visits:

My step-dad visited within a month of arriving from the UK. He just walked in to the closest surgery (the onl one in our village). There was no appointment sysem, just sit and wait your turn, which was about 2 hours. He then told the doctor that he suffered with high blood pressure and showed him the medication he had been taking in the UK. He was given a pretty thorough check-over (hence the two hour wait) and given a repeat prescription of his drugs and told to come back for moe in 3 months.

I went to the same surgery at Christmas (surprisingly it wasn't busy, so I only had to wait about 45 minutes) The doctor then spent a good 20 minutes with me. I went with a sore throat but like my dad, got a thorough check, which brought out the fact that I ama mild asthmatic - although I had used my inhaler only ONCE in the nine months of living in France at that point, as opposed to about once a day in the UK! He gave me a new supply of inhalers and some miracle medicine which cured my unbearable throat within24 hours!

Apart from the lack of an appointment system the service we have received has been much more attentive and thorough than either of us experienced in the UK. HOWEVER, I have a few points of concern. Firstly, they don't have or seem to want to have our notes from the UK, so are taking us at our word over previous medication and ailments. Secondly, nothing was written down (no computer) in any notes (just the prescription) so how will our ailments and history be remembered in 3, 6, 9 months time? And finally, if we don't have to register as such, surely the system is open to obuse by people going from one surgery to another and obtaining excessive amounts of drugs that could be sold on the black market!

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My French friends tell me that you can just go to any doctor you wish. The husband visited a doctor whilst working away on business and was diagnosed with Prostate cancer. He is still undergoing treatment but initially he preferred to go to a doctor away from his home town. It also seems that the French will visit any amount of doctors until they find one who gives them the answer they are looking for! My friends' expression not mine.
Our local pharmacist has looked at all my medication from inhalers to blood thining medication and he can provide all these over the counter with no problem but for insurance purposes I must visit the doctor every 3 to 6 months. I was initially surprised, if not shocked, I could buy all this medication over the counter but he was insistant that the doctor be visited regularly not only for insurance purposes but to check the medication is still appropriate.

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As part of a new law, the government is suggesting that each French person has a "medecin referant" that they have to go and see and who refers them to a specialist. It's not a very popular idea and I'd be very surprised if this went through.

At the moment you can go and see up to 5 doctors in a day and still be reimbursed. Because of this, docors don't seem to keep the same notes about you as in the UK. Any blood tests or X-rays you do, you keep the results yourself and cart them to each doctor.

My mother in law had a bad back in Novemebr, she called out SOS medecin on the Sunday who gave her a prescription, the next day she saw her rhumatologist who gave her another prescription, two days later she saw her GP for a cold and he gave her yet another prescription, for her cold and for her back. Each time my father in law insists on taking all the prescriptions with them, but the doctors don't seem interested in looking at them.

We live in a medium sized town, the first doctor we saw only had appointments on Friday afternoons and you had to book at least a month in advance. We now see a doctor who has appointments in the morning and 'free sugery' in the afternoon. You can usually get an appoitment for the next day and he sees you on time and spends at least 15 minutes with you. But if you go in the afternoon, you can wait up to 3 hours.
He is also very computer literate so he has all our details on his computer and can tell when we last visited and why. We tend to ask his advice before seeing a specialist but the only follow up he gets is what we tell him.
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When we moved to France, I asked our UK doctor about transferring our records to our French doctor but he said it was not something that he could do overseas. However, I could pay for a copy of our records to take with us, which if I remember correctly, was 20 for each set of records.
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LAST EDITED ON 03-Mar-04 AT 10:51 AM (GMT)

Currently the system in France is that you do not register with a doctor. You can go to any doctor you wish and can even go directly to any consultant, although in the latter they sometimes prefer to see a refferal letter froma GP.

You are responsible for keeping any records, notes, X-rays etc of yourself. Some doctors maintain their own records either in paper form or computer, but this is by no means the norm

In addition you pay the doctor on your visit, the standard charge is 20 for a GP visit, but in fact a doctor can in fact charge what they like. There is a seemless private/state system in which you can choose to go anywhere for treatment or advice (private or state), but you will only be re-imbursed to a certain limit.

Check the forum posts on how to get into the French health system , re-imbursements etc. You get reimbursements to a certain % of the costs. The rest can be made up through a separate private insurance policy with a 'mutuelle'.


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