What could be more unpleasant than falling ill on vacation? How and where to get treatment in London? What are our rights as tourists and therefore non-residents?
London offers three possibilities for treatment: the NHS which is the public hospital, private medical centers and the French dispensary.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to these establishments and to tell you about their advantages and limitations.
How to get the European health insurance card?
Before leaving on a trip, the first step is to obtain the European health insurance card by applying to the Social Security center either
- on site, by going to one of the reception points of your health insurance fund.
- by telephone on 36 46 (price of a local call except additional cost imposed by certain operators)
- on the website of theHealth Insurance
It is recommended to make this request three weeks before departure. In case of late request you can receive a provisional certificate.
This free and personal card is valid for one year and will allow you to receive treatment in all European countries. Each member of the family should have their own, including children.
Please note, your care will be taken care of with this card only in public and not private establishments.
In the event of an advance on costs, you must send the invoices to the approved body to which you are affiliated, so that it can examine the reimbursement conditions.
More information on cerfa.gouv.fr
Sr seek treatment in a public hospital: the National Health Service (NHS)
To be treated in a public establishment is the assurance of benefiting from free care by presenting your European health insurance card. If you do not have the card during your stay, you will be charged between £ 60 and £ 75 for a consultation.
For non-urgent medical needs, you can go to an “NHS Walk-in-center” which receives patients without an appointment.
In case of emergency, go to the nearest hospital emergency room (NHS Urgent Care Centers).
Seek treatment in a private, French-speaking center
London has several French-speaking private medical centers which bring together in a single center all the bodies of the profession: general practitioners, pediatricians, dentists, ophthalmologists, etc.
These centers have the advantage of having a French-speaking medical staff where you will not be confronted with the language barrier.
However, as these are private centers, consultations are expensive and are not covered unless your private insurance covers this type of consultation.
Therefore, you will not be asked for your European Health Insurance Card in order to receive treatment.
Finally, these private centers can receive patients more quickly than in public hospitals.
For information, a consultation with a general practitioner costs £ 92 and £ 80 with a dentist.
So what if we speak little English and we cannot afford to pay for care in a private center?
Getting treatment in a French dispensary
In my opinion, the best alternative is to go to the French dispensary in Hammersmith (west part of London). It is a charitable institution that works with volunteer and French-speaking doctors: general practitioners, pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, gynecologists, etc.
Consulting at the dispensary will cost you a symbolic annual subscription of 10 pounds, as well as an additional 10 pounds for each consultation.
To make an appointment with a general practitioner or specialist, call 0208 222 8822.
Directory of French doctors in London
The Consulate General of France in London provides the contact details of French-speaking general practitioners and specialists for information. You can consult the list on the consulate website.
What are the pharmacies on duty in London?
Where to buy non-prescription drugs in London?
Note that in England, a large number of non-prescription drugs are available over the counter in supermarkets (Sainsbury, Tesco).
A&E (Accident and Emergencies): Service des Urgences Surgery: general practice
OTC (Over The Counter): drugs bought without a prescription
Walk-In Center: Medical practice without appointment
Red Book: health record
999: vital emergencies. An ambulance or an equivalent of the SAMU can be sent to you as needed.
111: NHS Service for non-life-saving emergencies.
112: European emergency number.