Finding a Doctor

Find out how to register with a doctor, what to do in the event of an emergency and how to find English-speaking doctors in France...

Foreigners in France will find English-speaking general practitioners, dentists and opticians in most large cities. Doctors are established in private practices, either alone or in a group. To find a doctor, search in the French yellow pages (Pages Jaunes) for "médécin". Medical practitioners may not advertise in France. Every person of 16 years and over living in France and benefiting from social security should nominate a medical doctor to be their attending medical practitioner (médecin traitant). This doctor is responsible for their patient's direct care and all referrals to other medical practitioners and specialists. Note: It is not necessary to get a referral for visits to an ophthalmologist, paediatrician, dentist or gynaecologist.
  • For information on registering with a doctor, see Registering with a Doctor in France, found in the left hand side menu

Doctor's fees and payments

When consulting a doctor, fees are paid upfront. A person without a Carte Vitale will get a treatment form (feuille de soins) to send to the local CPAM. The Social Security then reimburses around 70 percent of the standard rate (tarif de convention) within five days; optional top up insurance (mutuelle) takes care of the majority of the remaining amount. For each consultation (for over 18s) a contribution of one euro is paid by the patient. This is referred to as the participation forfaitaire. The amount of the reimbursement depends on whether the doctor is in secteur 1 or secteur 2. Tariffs in secteur 1 are fixed (tarif de convention), whereas doctors in secteur 2 can charge the price they want (and the patient will still only be reimbursed for a percentage of the standard rate). Visits to a specialist without a referral are reimbursed at a lower rate. Doctors are obliged by law to post their fees on the wall in their surgery. It must be clearly stated if the doctor is in secteur 1 or secteur 2. Certain consultations with a doctor are reimbursed at 100 percent (minus the participation forfaitaire), for example, compulsory children's check ups and if the person benefits from Couverture Maladie Universelle, CMU (Universal Health Insurance Coverage). CMU is granted to a person with little or no income and to people with a serious illness or health condition.
  • Information on CMU from Service Public (in French)

Medical treatments

Some treatments require prior approval (demande d'accord préalable) in order to be reimbursed by the CPAM. These include:
  • Physiotherapy
  • Certain orthodontic treatments (under 16s only)
  • Long distance medical transport (over 150 Km) or multiple trips (four transports over 50 Km within two months)
  • Certain laboratory tests
  • Prosthesis
In all cases, the doctor informs the patient if this approval is required and provides all the necessary forms.

Ordre National des Médecins

The Ordre National des Médecins is the overseeing body for all medical doctors working in France. The website can be used to search for any discipline of medical practitioner in any part of France (searching for "English-speaking" doctors is not possible).

Note

The rules of the Ordre des Médecins prohibit us from publishing a list of English-speaking doctors and medical practitioners. We apologise for not being able to bring you this service.

Dental Procedures

Dental care is reimbursed at 70 percent of the standard rate. Some visits to the dentist are reimbursed at 100 percent, for example some children's check ups. The parent receives a form from the CPAM inviting their child to consult a dentist within the next 12 months, which must be presented to the dentist at the visit. Orthodontic treatments that begin before a child's 16 birthday are also reimbursed. In order to benefit from any reimbursement, prior approval (demande d'accord préalable) is required. Reimbursements are only paid at the end of the treatment, which may be six months after payment to the orthodontist has been made. Orthodontists are free to set their fees, but most provide the patient with a written quote before any treatment is undertaken.

Eye Care

The cost of glasses or lenses are only covered if there is a prescription from an eye doctor (opthalmologiste). In some regions, the wait to see an eye doctor can be as long as seven months.
  • Detailed information about the different roles eye doctors (opthalmologiste), opticians and orthoptistes have (in French)
Glasses and lenses are reimbursed, but only at a fraction of the actual cost.