Navigating the French healthcare system is a crucial aspect of expat life, and choosing a General Practitioner (GP) is a fundamental step toward ensuring personalised and effective healthcare. This guide will walk you through the process of selecting and declaring your GP in France, emphasising the importance of this decision for your well-being and navigating the intricacies of the healthcare system.
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Who should choose a GP in France?
Whether you’re an independent policy holder or covered under your parents’ social security, having a designated GP is mandatory. For children under 16, a parent or the holder of parental authority must choose and declare the GP. Minors aged 16 and 17 can choose their GP with parental approval.
How to choose your GP in France
The doctor's choice
You have the freedom to choose your GP. However, the doctor you have chosen must give you consent to fulfill this role.
The attending physician can be a general practitionner or specialist, whether approved in sector 1 or sector 2. He can practice alone, in a group practice, in a health center or even in a hospital. He may be your family doctor or another doctor. There are no geographical constrainsts. It’s up to you to choose the doctor who knows you and suits you best.
If you live in a retirement home: You can choose the GP attached to your establishment, but you can also choose another doctor.
If you are a student: You can choose your GP in the city where your parents love or in the city where you are studying.
Choosing a doctor for the whole family
Members of a family can have the same attending physician or choose different ones based on individual preferences. However, each family member must declare their attending doctor individually. There is no collective declaration for family health.
What to do if you can't find a GP in France
If you find yourself without a GP due to difficulties in finding one, territorial coordinated organisations in your area can provide potential solutions. These organisations are designed to assist individuals in connecting with available healthcare providers.
Changing your GP
Changing your GP is a straightforward process in France. You can make this change without conditions or justifications. While informing your previous GP is not obligatory, it is courteous and allows for better organisation. Simply submit a new declaration for your health insurance fund (CPAM) tp effect the change, with the new attenting physician’s appointment date serving as the effective date of the change.
How to declare your GP in France
Declaring your attending doctor in France is a straightforward process that ensures seamless access to healhcare. If you find yourself in specific situations, such as not having a treating doctor, changing your doctor, or experiencing changes in your doctor’s activitiy or location, you need to declare your attenting physician. Here are the two simple options available for this essential declaration:
The online declaration is a quick and convenient option facilitated by the doctor you’ve chosen, with your consent. During a consultation at the doctor’s office, you present your Carte Vitale, and the doctor transmits the declaration directly to your primary health insurance fund. This process eliminates the need for paperwork or mailing, providing an immediate and efficient recording of your declaration.
Declaration by mail using form S3704
Alternatively, you can opt for a traditional declaration method using the form S3704 Declaration of choice of the attending physician (PDF). Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Complete and sign the form: Fill out the attending physician choice form, ensuring all necessary details are provided. Both you and the chosen doctor must sign the form.
- Submit to health insurance fund: Deliver the completed form to your health insurance fund. You can either hand it in personally or send it by mail in a stamped envelope at the current rate.