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How to get a weekend or out-of-hours doctor’s appointment in France

Various solutions exist without having to go to a hospital

One option to contact a doctor outside normal working hours is to use the service SOS médecins Pic: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

There are several ways to get a medical consultation outside of normal working hours without going to hospital. We summarise three options.

Maisons médicales de garde

The maisons médicales de garde (on-call medical centres) provide care at weekends, nights or on public holidays when surgeries and doctors’ practices are closed. 

There are two dedicated phone numbers to call to find your nearest médecin de garde: 116 and 117. 

In Paris, there are five on-call centres where you can consult a doctor without an appointment. These centres exist in almost all regions in France. 

In Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), for example, the maison médicale de garde is open between 20:00 and 00:00 Monday to Friday, 12:00 to 00:00 on Saturday, and 08:00 to 00:00 Sundays and public holidays. 

You can go directly to these centres for any urgent problem requiring diagnosis and medical treatment. These consultations are open to all ages. 

The cost of the consultation is more expensive than normal-hour appointments, and it increases the later it is in the night. 

For example, weekdays between 20:00 and 00:00 it can cost around €40 a consultation, or €46 for a home visit. For a consultation between 00:00 and 06:00 it can cost around €50 for an in-person appointment, rising to closer to €60 for an at-home visit.

For weekends and public holidays the rates are lower, usually around €25 for an in-person appointment or €30 for a home visit. 

In terms of reimbursement by the Assurance Maladie, it remains the same as a normal consultation, at 70%, with a top-up insurance (mutuelle) required to cover the rest. 

If you want to contact the centres directly, you can usually find their phone numbers by Googling ‘maison médicale de garde’ followed by your town, city, or department name.

Another option is to check the website of your local Agence régionale de santé (ARS) as the region may have a specific contact number for out-of-hour consultations. 

You can also try the website maisonsmedicale.com, which helps patients find their nearest centre. 

You can phone this platform too on 08 93 02 00 26. This service costs €0.80 per minute plus the cost of the call. 

SOS Médecins

This platform is another alternative. You can book an appointment online at any point. You may need to create an account first.

Or you can call the number 3624. This service costs €0.15 per minute plus the price of the call, and is available 24/7.

Before you call, you should have all the relevant information: name of patient, age, address, telephone number and reason for the call. 

SOS médecins can organise in-person appointments for you, or, if that is not required, set up an online or telephone consultation with a doctor.

The price of the consultations vary depending on the service you require and the time of your consultation. 

A home visit between 20:00 and 00:00 is €71, for example, while an appointment at a doctor’s practice is €67.50. Between 00:00 and 06:00, a home visit costs €84.50, while an appointment at a doctor’s practice is €76.50.

You can find a full breakdown of costs at this link. 

The doctors are able to accept cartes Vitales, meaning patients can get the usual 70% reimbursement plus more if they have a mutuelle. 

Qare

Qare is a private company that offers online video consultations to patients, until 23:00 each day. Using this service it is even possible to get a medical prescription, if necessary. 

Prices for a consultation with a GP range from around €25 to €100. It is also possible to use your carte Vitale for these consultations in order to get reimbursed for the cost. 

Phone the SAMU if urgent

Another option is to phone 15 for free, the number for France’s emergency medical services (SAMU). Operators will be able to direct you to a nearby on-call centre if necessary, depending on the medical issue you are facing. 

NOTE: This line is intended for emergencies so it is best not to call it for less serious matters

New law about hospital flat fee

Note that a new law means that since January 1, 2022, hospitals in France charge a fixed-rate sum of €19.61 for patients who go to the accident and emergency ward (urgences) but are not then admitted to hospital. 

This charge does not apply to patients who are hospitalised and is covered by top-up insurance policies if the patient has one.

Read more: French hospitals to set flat fee of €19.61 for A&E care from January 1

Related stories:

Finding English-speaking doctors in France

An overview of the French healthcare system in 2021

Covid France and mental health: 4 platforms with support in English

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