Sadly, one of our party was not feeling well during our skiing trip to France, to the extent that they had a temperature of nearly 40⁰C. It was decided that they needed to see a doctor to diagnose and treat the problem.
Normally, at home, when we try to book an appointment, we get told that the first available appointment is weeks away, usually at a time when we are at work. For urgent things, there is sometimes the option to wait in open surgery, but this takes hours.
Our most fluent French speaker made a call to the local doctor at about 0830, and we had an appointment for 1015. On arrival at the medical centre, we had a short wait or 10 minutes and were then seen. The doctor was very friendly and, as is common in France, produced a prescription of several items. The consultation was €23 – paid in cash directly to the doctor. There was also a charge of €24.07 for the 6 boxes of medicines at the pharmacy.
Now, given that a prescription in England costs £8.20, the charge would have been £49.20 for the medicines alone, well in excess of the £36 equivalent the whole treatment cost in France.
There is clearly advantages for free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare, like we have in the UK, but I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient and effective the French model was for us on this occasion.
I am pleased to report that our poorly companion is on the mend, and well enough to fly home today. It will be my first trip on a BAe 146 for 20 years or so, and my first BA Cityflier service operated by Jota Aviation – more on that to follow!