British expats in France worried over declining healthcare standards

Published:  15 Nov at 6 PM
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Expats in France are worried about the state of the once-famed French healthcare system.

One essential for all expats considering a move overseas is an up-to-date, efficient, affordable healthcare system. Over the past decades, the French healthcare service was regarded as one of the best in the world, but nowadays its reputation is shot and the lives of patients are at risk. Staff are overworked, underpaid and at risk as regards their mental as well as physical health. The result was seen yesterday, as a nationwide strike action by staff focused the country’s attention on the deteriorating situation.

One nurse from a Paris hospital’s emergency department spoke frankly with France’s leading expat newspaper, saying it’s all about the money, with long-term financial constrictions reducing staff abilities to care for and treat patients in the correct manner.
Even though the system is now in crisis mode, she added, the government is still demanding more savings of between 800 million and one billion euros be made. Should the service comply, she said, patients’ lives will be in danger and the quality of service will be totally undermined.

Hospital workers claim rightly that access to top-quality healthcare is a fundamental entitlement for all, not just a privilege for the wealthy. They agree French healthcare was amongst the best in the world but know full well it’s now fading fast. The decline in its reputation affects expats as well as French nationals, and is especially serious for those who’ve arrived for retirement, especially as it’s not yet known whether free entitlement will continue post-Brexit.

For decades, France has been a popular destination for British expats, with healthcare featuring strongly in the decision. Nowadays, with the NHS in a similar situation fir similar reasons and expat Brits returning for treatment being forced to wait six months before getting an appointment, elderly UK citizens living in France may soon have nowhere to turn in the case of a serious or chronic illness.
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