Visiting Our Doctors
Having read many of our client’s letters on this subject, it was felt that we should give you an insight into what you may expect and hopefully some advice.
Other than the usual language barriers, our local physicians are a well-mannered, well-respected members of the community, none more so than in the rural areas. As has been said communication is not always straightforward, so our doctors are now attending courses on how to treat thousands of British holidaymakers and Brits that have moved here. The difficulties faced by most are more cultural than linguistic: on the linguistic front our Medical Training Associations are issuing leaflets that assist our doctors in their work. These should reduce the social gulf between doctor and patient. For example: Our associations are issuing lists of English Medical terms and how to avoid mistakes: confusing the French groin (Pig’s Snout) with a groin strain or pile (battery) with piles. This we have had to bring in as many Brits are openly posting on websites for English-speaking doctors, it’s as if they feel the need to create an enclave!!
Unlike in England, here consultations take a lot longer as we take time to talk to our patients and treat the whole person not the ailment. From talking to our local doctor, the feeling we get is that our British neighbours seem to enjoy their relationship with him.
Again, unlike the British, who only visit a doctor when it is something serious, we French will visit our doctor for the most trivial of ailments. For example: 75% of us will visit the doctor if we have flu-like symptoms whereas in England it is only 25%.
There is also, because of this social gulf, a phenomenon we call la pruderie Anglais. This comes under many headings, our doctors very rarely prescribe suppositories to British patients albeit that it is a common form of medicine here. Another is, asking a lady to undress on her first visit, so that she may be examined. This we find very normal, ladies you should not be perturbed, it is the normal course of events and there is a nurse present! So don’t worry our doctors are performing their vocation with great diligence and skill.