Hi Mooman - Just caught your post.
I understand that you may move to Nice or to Mallorca, yes ? The AS scene in France is fairly good. Is the 'home' of EULAR, European Legue Against Rheumatism, and also that of ASAS, ASessment in Ankylosing Spondylitis (ASAS) international. Much by way of international education, recognition, imaging, treatment. Of course, the biologics are foremost treatment.
Will need to get your Carte Vitale and top-up Mutuelle. Then follows the ALD - affliction longue dure, which requires a letter from the rheumatologist to establish ALD and, bingo, any problems to do with AS are covered, including basic hospital stays. Outside of AS, not necessarily covered, except by what is pick up by your Mutuelle. (insurance). Mutuelle comes in quite a range of charges, depends on how far / much you might seek coverage. I have a pretty good one, though is a tad costly.
Nice itself, there is a good hospital there, has an excellent orthopaedic dept with a top rated international shoulder surgeon, speaks English. Don't know what their rheumy dept is like, but check out CHU Nice website for information.
Will need a GP to do the referrals, that will take about 6 months to go through the bureaucracy, meantime, they give you a temporary paper, 'they' being CPAM - www.ameli.fr
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The French 'love' their medications and expect to leave a consultation with an arms length of prescribed items !
The system is pretty good, you can see whomsoever 'you' would like to see - means one can travel to see the best. Can get expensive though !
Ophthalmology is one of the worst areas that is not well covered by expertise, and ophthos are thin on the ground, can be a year to get an appointent, and, not all are equal ! Hmmmm.
Although the English is the lingua franca of medicine, not all docs speak English though the top specialists will be speaking - they have to, not all paper are translated, and symposiums and conferences etc (visiting top level consultants) are held in the English language. So far I have managed to get by, though my French is really a tad scrappy !
Imaging is generally done in an imaging centre - find the best one. Hospitals and clinics have their own centres, but also there are many stand alone imaging centres, on the whole, pretty good. The same with haematology, one goes to the blood clinic. Generally walk in, will need a prescription, no need to make an appointment, and await your turn.
Hospital food tends to be from ghastly to almost inedible ! Nursing, can be excellent to a bit hit and miss. Doctors tend to think themselves God's gift...nowt much changes there. Hospital rooms, clean, not too much by way of contamination. One does see rather a lot of internes = students. A mixed bunch of course, from truly excellent to downright Ho-Hum !
Always keep your records and paperwork in order and, of course, your own MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds etc etc. One is given reports and copies of diagnostics. Keep them safe. Medics here tend not to liaise with other medics who may be attending your case - that is pretty much left to ones GP...who may or may not follow through ! You have to be prepared to get involved in your own care and at the same time careful not to tread on 'tender' toes...!! Make out your own medical notes and list of drugs and list of ALL drugs that have caused unwanted reactions. (When I give them ine, they are question away, until satisfied. Can be a bit of a bore that. Meds you currently take. Meds you refuse to take for whatever reason, list of meds that cause horrid reactions. Keep these up-to-date, and make copies).
Think that is about it. Any questions, fire away.
CHU=Central University Hospital - many internes / 3rd year students in attendance. The pvt cliniques are generally run on a tighter rein.
OK. I'll leave that lot with you. Night -
Molly C (France)
P.S. That was Mallorca you said. Only thing I know of Spain is that it is nowhere near the standards of France. Between the two, I would seek to go to Nice.