What if you have a health problem other than coronavirus in France?

What if you have a health problem other than coronavirus in France?
As an essential service pharmacies remain open during the lockdown. Photo: AFP
The French health system is largely focused on the enormous challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic - what about people who have other health needs?

Quite understandably, most of the talk about healthcare in France at present is about coronavirus, but that doesn't mean that people stop getting sick with other conditions or need other care.

Here's what France is doing to meet people's non-coronavirus related needs during this time of crisis.

READ ALSO What you need to know about the coronavirus epidemic in France

Hospital appointments

A lot of non-urgent appointments have been cancelled to free up medical staff and facilities for coronavirus patients, but urgent appointments such as cancer care and dialysis are continuing. If you have an upcoming appointment you should be contacted if it has been cancelled or charged.

Hospital emergency departments are operating as normal, although people who think they may have coronavirus are asked not to use these – instead call the ambulance service on 15 if you have severe symptoms or call your regular doctor if your symptoms are not severe enough to need an ambulance.

Doctor's appointments

General practitioners are still working – indeed they are on the frontline in the struggle to control coronavirus – but they are also seeing non-coronavirus patients.

Many of them have started offering online appointments and these can be used by non-coronavirus patients too – in fact it's requested that you do use them if you can, in order to keep social mixing to a minimum. You can find out more about how they work here.

Dental care

Dentists have been advised to suspend all non-emergency care, as the close proximity between a dentist and a patient creates a high risk of spreading the virus.

If you have a dental emergency and your own dentist is not working, there is  a national helpline which gives details of the nearest emergency practitioner – call 09 705 00 205 then type the number of the département you are calling from.

Pharmacies

As an essential service, pharmacies are still open and can provide healthcare advice as well as prescriptions. The Ministry of Health has announced that during the lockdown, women who need a repeat prescription of the contraceptive pill can take an old prescription to the pharmacy to get their new supply.

Pregnancy care

Pre-natal pregnancy care continues as normal, although some appointments may be replaced by online consultations, and women who need an abortion can still get one during the lockdown.

Domestic violence

There has been a concern about increasing levels of domestic violence during the lockdown as people are trapped with violent partners, with some reports saying it has increased by more than 30 percent in less than a fortnight.

Now pharmacies are offering an 'alert' system, where people can report domestic violence and be connected immediately to law enforcement – asking for masque dix-neuf (mask 19) will alert the pharmacist that you are at risk of domestic violence.

The government is also funding hotel stays for victims fleeing an abusive home situation.

 

The telephone helpline for victims of domestic violence in France is 3919.

 

 


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