France has long been renowned for the quality of its medical care. It’s mix of state and private funding means that medical facilities are up-to-date and generally of a better standard than those in the UK.
Occurrences of infections such as MRSA are zero and, compared with most other modern countries, the system is very inexpensive. French doctors and dentists – including private practitioners – cost approximately 70% less than those in the UK.
For retirees, the offering is even better. Medical care is free in France for those over retirement age and waiting lists are shorter, a significant attraction for people considering spending their golden years overseas.
Combined with the warmer climate and healthier diet, France’s medical system has led to it being placed 7th in terms of life expectancy in the latest World Population Prospects report form the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The UK is ranked 23rd.
Danny Silver, expert in French real estate and MD of The Villages Group, which provides active living resorts in France for the over 50s, understands that medical care is an important issue for his clients. He explains: “The key focus of our Villages is around an active, healthy lifestyle in a conducive climate, all at an affordable cost. Our clients want to be sure that they have access to appropriate healthcare should they need it but they don’t want to waste money paying for on-site medical services that are rarely used.”
For The Villages Group, this meant that France was the ideal location. Part of the company’s ethos is that its Villages will be a true part of the local community, rather than isolated, standalone developments. At Le Village-Canal du Midi, for example, four French villages are all within a few minutes’ drive, providing those living there with access to a wide range of local services.
This is particularly important in relation to healthcare. Silver continues: “At the last count there were 125 doctors located within 20 minutes’ drive of Le Village-Canal du Midi, covering a huge range of medical services. This means that those living in our Village can be confident they will have prompt access to relevant healthcare should they need it, while the cost of on-site services can be avoided. The French health system is excellent and peace of mind in respect of medical care is a key consideration for our clients.”
In its Healthcare Professionals, 2012 statistical report INSEE, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, reported that there are 157 general practitioners and 177 specialised practitioners per 100,000 people in France.
INSEE also confirmed, in its Health Establishments, the 2010 figures that there are over 2,700 health establishments in France, providing a total of more than 477,000 beds and slots for those requiring treatment.
With such a robust medical system in place, it is perhaps unsurprising that France proved to be one of the top emigration destinations for retired Britons in the Home Office: “Emigration from the UK” Research Report 68 (Nov 2012).
Added to the attractions of France’s climate, cuisine, culture and history, its world-class healthcare system has served to ensure that resorts such as those run by The Villages Group are becoming increasingly popular with those looking to make the most of every minute of their retirement.
For more information please contact The Villages Group at: www.thevillagesgroup.com