Find the answers to many of your expat questions here

View Latest Posts

You're missing out...

As a member you can enjoy exclusive info and offers.


British NHS vs. French

Posted by fionab-183601 - Created: 16 years ago
0 0
Sorry no image available

10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

Sorry no image available
Posted by jmroberts-180597 - 14 years ago

Having the option to totally pull out of the social system would be even better!

Sorry no image available
Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

Tegan has summed the situation up 100% accurately.

I'd like to see a choice, of a lower rate basic social securtiy, to which people can add as they wish, acting as their own insurers for any uncovered balance.

The difficulty is that the socialist nanny state doesn't credit people with the maturity to make their own judgement, with the result that they consequently become incapable of doing so.

Sorry no image available
Posted by Pinman - 14 years ago

As the mother of a chronic anorexic, all I can say is thank heavens she came to France 3 years ago!  The NHS treatment during the previous 4 years was frankly appalling and misguided - the treatment here was swift and sympathetic. 
She is now at university in London & is suffering with an unrelated & painful bowel disorder.  All I can say is that after 6 weeks at the mercy of the NHS she has got precisely nowhere - despite having lots of visits to the GP (where of course she NEVER sees the same doctor twice!) & tests - is still in terrible pain & has spent the last 4 weeks living on Immodium Plus!  She is due back here for a week during her Easter break....and already has an appointment to see a gastroenterologist thanks to one phone call from our local GP - something the NHS has spectacularly failed to achieve in 6 weeks!!  I rest my case.....
As for myself, I had breast cancer whilst still living in England which was successfully treated (privately)...but my checkups here have been far more extensive & superior & check out my whole body - not just the affected area.

Written by wife of


Sorry no image available
Posted by RJH-187583 - 14 years ago

Uh-oh, this will not do.  Fiona was researching for "anyone who has come...to France to receive medical treatment that they couldn't get in the UK. Also anyone who has had a bad NHS experience".

Sorry no image available
Posted by Tegan - 14 years ago

I was having a discussion about NHS vs French system with someone at work yesterday and so was interested to see this forum. I think the NHS gets a lot of unfair press. I know in certain areas of the UK you hear of horror stories but nobody ever seems to mention when it goes well. The system in France is good - there's no doubt, but at a cost. If in the Uk people were forced to spend as much money on health care as they do here they would perhaps stop complaining. The NHS gets bad press from the French in France who perhaps don't know how the system works because they hear on the TV how bad everything is elsewhere and how great everything is in France. The British on the other hand have a tendency to always be negative about everything British instead of showing any national pride.

I have had to have medical treatment in the UK as a non-resident. They were quick, helpful, very freindly and of course it cost me not a penny which I felt slightly bad about, as British person visiting France would get good treatment but at a cost.

In France we pay a fortune in social security and then a percentage on top for our health care and if you don't have a mutuelle 'top up insurance' and need to have major treatment in a hospital you could end up facing huge debts.

I think somewhere in the middle of both systems would be ideal!

Sorry no image available
Posted by davidjulieanne - 14 years ago

On the same subject, I was looking for information on transfering my UK national insurance contributions to France. I am living here permenantly now. I am not paying taxes here in France, so I wounder how it works and who I could ask.




Sorry no image available
Posted by mike-179830 - 16 years ago


The link is what gets e-mailed, not the content (which cannot be e-mailed without breaching copyright). And yes, it is "premium content".


Sorry no image available
Posted by MikeP-180526 - 16 years ago

Very interesting article on this topic in the Economist :


Signs of progress do not quell worries about value for money

"So much cash is going into the health service that it was bound to get a bit better. The real worry is whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth. "

You may be able to access the full article at the URL above - it might be behind subscription (which I have) but if anyone is seriously interested please let me know as the page can be emailed (legally I assume as it has an 'email this' link on the page!)

Sorry no image available
Posted by nina-II - 16 years ago

You are damn right , MikeP, I forget to say that at the end of my happy stay in hospital, I asked for the bill, and I was rather ashamed to pay a mere 5 euros for phone calls!!!Thats french publics hospitals for you...Off course I am not very happy when I have to pay my social taxes every month (being self employed, I pay both employers AND employee share), but on the whole, I'd rather it stays that way (with may be a little slow down on tramquilizer prescriptions)

Sorry no image available
Posted by MikeP-180526 - 16 years ago

To me there appears to be one component missing from this debate.  'You get what you pay for'.

It certainly seems from reading what most people have stated here, apart from one who had an unfortunate experience,  that the French system is better than the UK one.  I can't comment on the UK system as I haven't lived there for 30+ years, but based on what I've seen and heard it seems to be pretty poor, depending to large degree on which hospital you end up in and who the consultant is.

However,  here you pay 22% social security charges.  I don't know what proportion of that goes towards health care but it must be, when you see the abuse and the quantities of drugs dispensed for minor ailments, pretty hefty.  Then most people pay into a Mutuel, as do their employers.  I don't understand my pay slip as it has about 30 lines of incomprehensible abbreviations,  but it appears that I pay about 40 Euros/month for Medical Insurance (apart from the state social security) and my employer pays over 500 - which seems a huge amount.  When that sort of money is going into healthcare,  it damn well should be good.  In the UK I think Social Security equivalent contributions are about 9% - and that doesn't all go into medical care.

So,  that's my penny's worth, or rather, my 540 Euros/month worth.