I'm in need of a general practitioner visit and I'm in Paris. Is there any way to know which ones speak English, because it's quite uncommon that people speak English well here, and I don't have enough French to discuss my medical condition. (I have an EHIC card to cover my expenses, I'm aware that I'll likely have to pay something extra, that's not the issue now.)
1Do you speak any French? In my experience in Paris, it's often amazing how little English people speak until you try some French, then it's amazing how much they speak once they've seen you make an effort...!– GagravarrMar 26, 2014 at 0:50
@Gagravarr I do speak some French, and I have the very same experience as you. However, if the doctor doesn't know the right English vocabulary, we're lost again somehow...– yo'Mar 26, 2014 at 0:52
In the UK the NHS has a GP search service, which also lets you filter by languages the doctor speaks. Highly useful! I couldn't find something similar for France unfortunately– SztupY ♦Mar 26, 2014 at 3:00
@SztupY GP in France are self-employed, the structure is completely different.– GalaMar 26, 2014 at 3:03
@GaëlLaurans: GPs in the UK are also self-employed, but they also have to sign a contractual agreement with the NHS.– SztupY ♦Mar 26, 2014 at 3:11
Embassies often have lists of doctors that speak the language of the country in question. I would call them and ask if they have a recommendation. That's how I found doctors in Asia.
The UK Embassy in France lists for example a link to to AngloInfo, which in return has this page here about healthcare in France.
The French US embassy has a list of English speaking doctors and hospitals.
The French Australian embassy has another list of English doctors.
I would generally assume that the further away you are from home, the better such information and help from the embassy becomes. A majority of UK citizens can probably go home in time in case they need a doctor, which is much harder for someone from the US or AU. So if you have several countries in the world that speak your language, try to find a larger one that is rather further away, and you might get more detailed help on their website.
2But on the other hand the UK embassy might care about EHIC coverage. (+1 in any case, was also my first suggestion)– GalaMar 26, 2014 at 5:48
Your consulate might have a list but that's a long shot as they are not always up to date (I know the US does something like that but I don't know if they would help non-US citizens and then they might refer you to an expensive private clinic like “Hôpital américain”). You could at least check the websites of several consulates, in case they publish it.
I know that international travel assistance services like ADAC in Germany also suggest in their promotional material that they can help you find a physician but in that particular case it would be a German-speaking physician and their lists are hopelessly outdated in my experience (e.g. include people who retired several years ago). Of course, you also need to be a member in the first place.
Another idea (but also something of a long shot) would be to call SOS Médecin. They provide house calls for non-life threatening emergencies (“urgences non-vitales”) so pretty much your situation (unlike 112), and might be able to pick the right person from their own list of GP. If you do get a house call be aware that you will be charged more if the physician considers that you could have come to his practice.
Finally, expats often exchange names/contacts of English-speaking GP on local forums. I don't know any for Paris but a web search turned up something that looks potentially useful.
1If you search for "Anglophone doctor" you get a site from the Australian embassy containing English speaking doctors: france.embassy.gov.au/pari/engdoc.html– SztupY ♦Mar 26, 2014 at 3:01
I live in Antony, just south of Paris, and I couldn't find comprehensive information about english speaking doctors. In general, I have to phone a doctor (GP or otherwise) to make an appointment and soon find out if they speak english, while I'm talking to them with my lousy french.
If you can find email addresses for the GPs near you, then that might be a simpler way of finding out if they speak enough english to help you - and less stressful than a phone call with a secretary who might have no interest/patience/might be trying to quit smoking... I have been hung-up on by more than one who just can't be bothered speaking slowly, twice. I still email my OB/GYN because he speaks english but his secretary does not (ahem, have a heart).
There is an organisation in Paris, aimed at anglophone parents, called MESSAGE. They have fantastic forums full of information on all sorts, including much medical stuff. You do have to join Message to access the forums, and it costs, but if you're in Paris for a while, it might be worth it. If you have kids, definitely!
There are several websites where you can book a doctor's appointment online. This isn't a central doctor database: membership in each website requires the doctor to register and pay a fee (what doctors get from it is more publicity).
Many of these sites just give the doctor's specialty, name and address but a few offer more. Note that I am only asserting that these sites exist, I cannot vouch for their accuracy.
- Rendezvousfacile — allows spoken language as a search criterion, and has a user interface in English. The downside of this site is that it doesn't have many participating doctors.
- Mondocteur — you can't search for English-speaking languages but doctors have short bios, some of which mention ”anglais“. You can search doctor bios with Google.
i have been to the following family practice of 3 young general practictioners www.ipso.paris, and all the physicians claim to speak English. The one i saw actually did speak good English
In similar situation I tried to contact private clinics - there must be plenty of them in Paris, and I suppose they have also English websites. I phoned the call center, and I got quickly an appointment, requesting an English speaking doctor (I realized later that the doctor's idea about being fluent in English didn't meet mine completely, but that might had been only my bad luck).
I am not fully aware how EHIC works; my insurance handled the costs afterwards, there was a bit of paperwork, to a survivable extent.