Country profile

The healthcare system in France

The French healthcare system is one of the best in Europe. It provides treatment for all residents of France, but it not solely state funded. It is supported by insurance schemes that deduct money from people in employment, with separate schemes for the self-employed. It ensures that everyone can get access to treatment under a system of reimbursement. Approximately 20% of all salaries are taken at their source to pay for the health and social security system in France.

The state system controls the French health authorities, which run the hospitals and make decisions about health spending. People who need treatment often have to pay some contribution themselves, and people in France often choose to take out private medical insurance to cover these costs. Hospitals in the state sector accounts for 65% of the healthcare provision – the rest are private hospitals and centres that run on the same principles as private hospitals elsewhere in the world. Medical tourists enter the private system as fee-paying patients.

Private hospitals and clinics in France’s major cities have state of the art equipment and anaesthetists and surgeons undergo many years of intensive study and training to practice. Doctors and surgeons tend to work in both the national health system and in private practice. Health professionals in France are very highly trained and private hospitals have excellent facilities.

Changes in legislation have meant that movement within the European Union has allowed more people to travel abroad for medical tourism, and France has become a popular destination.

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