French GP strike: What to do if you fall ill and need a doctor

GPs across France are set to strike on December 1 and 2 but if you fall ill there are still several ways in which you can access medical care

It will still be possible to access emergency and non-emergency medical care and advice while this week’s GP strike is taking place in France
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Independent GPs in France are set to go on strike tomorrow and Friday (December 1 and 2), with up to 70% expected to stay away from their surgeries.

Read more: This week's GP and laboratory strikes in France: What to expect

Read more: Why GPs in France are threatening to strike in December

However, if you fall ill while the strike is taking place, there are still ways in which you can access medical care.

Contact SOS Médecins

SOS Médecins is an emergency service which sends a doctor directly to someone’s home rather than an ambulance.

If you need a doctor urgently, you can call 36 24, and a volunteer GP will come to your home.

Some doctors’ surgeries have also put in place emergency numbers that patients can call on the strike days.

Out-of-hours services

If you fall ill out of normal GP surgery opening hours, you can also contact your local permanence de soins (out-of-hours service).

To find out the number of the permanence de soins in your area, you can call 15. The service can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read also: How to find a doctor out of hours in France

Call the SAMU

In an emergency, you can also call 15 to ask what you should do. If the operator judges it necessary, an ambulance can be sent to your location.

You will need to provide a phone number, the address the emergency services should go to and the reasons for your call. You will be given advice on what to do before the ambulance arrives.

Go to A&E

If you can, you can also go independently aux urgences (to A&E) in the case of an emergency.

You might go to A&E if you are experiencing acute pain, breathing difficulties, have had a fall or similar. Services are currently very busy across France, so if your complaint is not an emergency it is better to go to an out-of-hours clinic.

If you do not know what to do, you can also call your local out-of-hours service for advice.

Of course, if your health complaint is not urgent, you can also choose to delay booking a GP appointment until after the strike is over.

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