I have always known that the French health system was good, but until now I have not really had the full experience.
That was until I could no longer put up with my back pain and so took some time out and went to my local GP in the village where I live.
I have had problems with my back and neck since I was 14! I have tried every treatment from physio to osteopaths to acupuncture, all which are rather expensive in the UK and need to be maintained regularly.
Not once in over 15 years did any doctor or specialist in the UK suggest having a full scan of my spine and neck, but just one visit to the GP here in France and he had me shipped off to a radiologist for a full scan which I was able to book the following week - no waiting around!
The service was impeccable in a modern clinic and I was even given my scans to take home with me! The cost was 150€ which is fully reimbursed through my carte vitale (health card) and my mutuelle (health insurance).
The scan showed that my neck and spine were too straight among other things which explained why I was permanently suffering - this in itself was such a relief as I finally had an explanation for my pain!
Once the doctor had seen the scans he gave me a prescription which referred me to a kiné (physio) for as many appointments as was necessary.
I had expected this to be another expensive affair but kiné are on the same level as GPs and so are 100% reimbursed just with the carte vitale!
And to top things off there was a kiné in my village so 2 minutes on foot from my house - that is what I call a luxury as I am used to having to at least take the car in the UK to get to a specialist.
I have now had 5 appointments with the kiné - twice a week and have only just been asked to pay - 80€ for the 5 appointments... which will be back in my bank account by the end of the week!
Not only does the kiné have a modern office with fabulous views over the Burgundy countryside but also a gym area with lots of sports equipment which I will soon be making the most of so that I can strengthen my back muscles, again 100% reimbursed!
Finally I feel confident that I can get my back problems sorted and that help is on hand just up the road and for free should I ever need it in the future.
All of this in a small village in the heart of the Burgundy countryside, now that is what I call an impressive service!