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HEALTH

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

The French health system is largely focused on the enormous challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic - what about people who have other health needs?

What if you have a health problem other than coronavirus in France?
As an essential service pharmacies remain open during the lockdown. Photo: AFP

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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LIVING IN FRANCE

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.

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