Monday, December 13, 2010

The French Medical Experience - Culture, Language and Posteriors

By Expat Focus Columnist Sharon Revol

If you were looking to experience new cultural experiences would you really expect to find them at the Doctors surgery?
Nearly everyone in the Western world is bound to hear about France’s extraordinary reputation for exemplary healthcare at some point in their lifetime. High standards come at a price though. It’s one of the causes of the country’s large deficit and the reason behind some of the additional taxes that the French have to pay, but very few people would expect going to the Doctors to be a cultural experience as well as a medical one.

Most new expatriates arriving in France are likely to be surprised by certain things in the French healthcare system and I can clearly remember my first experiences even though they were a long time ago now. Experiencing medical care in France is a lesson in language, being discreet and becoming comfortable with one’s body.

The majority of French doctors work independently as opposed to being part of large medical centre, meaning most of the Doctors and specialists work from apartments or houses often where, or nearby to where they live. Not quite what you would expect if you are used to clean, clinical looking medical centres with neutral decorations and plenty of mod cons. My current Doctor’s premises look like a throwback to the 1970’s complete with original wallpaper, furniture and plastic plants.

As a first experience this can be quite nerve wracking as there usually aren’t any receptionists. You just ring the doorbell and ...

Read more about the "French Medical Experience"

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