The Dispensaire Français – Société Française de Bienfaisance provides advice and orientation given by its permanent staff, medical and health support given by health professionals and/or social and financial help to French speaking people in need living in the United Kingdom.
For some people, the difficulties of life in the UK, particularly in London, can be overwhelming. They start with language and comprehension problems, a failure to understand the NHS health system, low income, an irregular situation that does not allow them to be registered with a GP and also a feeling of loneliness due to being away from home.
The Dispensaire Français – Société Française de Bienfaisance is a registered charity under the Charity Act 1960 and offers its patients and beneficiaries :
Reception and hotline
- The Dispensaire responds to more than 30 calls a day, advising and guiding French speaking people who are looking for healthcare services in London or who are in a very difficult situation.
- Advice is given to everybody regardless of income.
- The Dispensaire may propose social and financial help or a consultation with a healthcare professional for those on low incomes.
- Volunteer health professionals consult by appointment in the fields of General Medicine, Gynaecology, Otorhinolaryngology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Speech therapy, Psychomotricity, Nursing and Nutrition
- The Dispensaire asks for a £10 contribution to cover annual registration and £10 for each consultation to help cover the running costs of the clinic. However, if the patient is in great financial difficulties and can’t afford this contribution, the consultations will be free of charge.
- These consultations are offered to people on low incomes, who have difficulties accessing the health system because they may not be registered with the National Health Service (NHS), may not understand how the system works, may not be comfortable enough in English to have a consultation or need a second opinion. In all such cases, they could not possibly afford to consult with a private doctor.
- The medical help offered is limited to consultations because the Dispensaire does not offer diagnostic tests (radiography, echography, MRI…). Pathology tests are available but are sent to a private laboratory and have to be paid for (except for people who qualify for free consultations).
- The reception, open every day and contactable by telephone or by visit without appointment, is a first point of contact to provide information about the British health system and assist with the registration with the NHS.
- A Youth Centre Walk-in Clinic, free and confidential for 13-25 year olds, is open every Friday from 12pm to 3pm. A psychologist is there at all times as well as a doctor and a staff member.
- Extra support is offered to people in hardship such as young people who are temporarily homeless or with no resources at all. The help will be limited to a few nights in a hostel, the purchase of a transport ticket to go back to France, the provision of some vouchers to supermarkets and/or an Oyster card.
- We give regular allowances to people living in the United Kingdom on very low incomes. This might be the little extra that will help with the heating bill for instance.
- We arrange visits to the elderly in their home.
- A Senior Club is organised on a monthly basis with the goal to create social bonds over a lunch and some activities for people who are isolated.