Wednesday 21 March 2018

Is healthcare à la Française heaven or hell?

Doctors certainly cure what ails you, but some take the hands-on approach a little bit too far, writes Aoife Drew

Living La Vie en Rose? No, but reading about the shocking X-ray scandals in Ireland, I feel rather happy with my lot en France. Instead of making a trip to New Zealand, maybe Mary Harney should take the ferry to Cherbourg, to come and learn a thing or two from our French friends. Oui, you can live somewhere for years, speak the language and know your neighbourhood, but I think you really get to know a country when you go through the health system.

In my case, being an Irlandaise who has given birth here in Paris and is expecting bébé number two in a few months, I feel reasonably well-qualified to share my two cents on the subject.

The French have a reputation for being hypochondriacs. This is not a myth. They have pharmacies like we have pubs: there are four within a 50-metre radius of my apartment. People take their health very seriously and are off to visit le médicin at the very suggestion of a runny nose, much like the Irish would run off for a pint at the very suggestion of, well, almost anything, really.

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