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Going to hospital – the forms

Going to see a specialist at a hospital in France involves a carefully choreographed dance to the tune of computer printouts and the rustling of paperwork. In part two of our ‘Going to Hospital’ series, we look at the pleasures of filling in forms!

The forms

You either return to the admissions front desk (often different to the one you were at before) or the surgeon’s secretary hands over the half a tree that will take you on the next part of your journey.  At this point you will be given a stack of forms.


  • One will be a declaration of your own medication which you must complete (this is for the anaesthetist)
  • Then there will be the form telling you when you are seeing the anaesthetist.
  • There will be a form to complete for the anaesthetist with really nosey questions such as weight, height, do you smoke, have you had all sorts of nasty things, etc.
  • There will be a form explaining your operation and how to prepare for it
  • There will be a form explaining your recovery and any rehabilitation should you need it
  • There will be a form where you sign to say you have seen the specialist and he has explained everything
  • There may be a prescription for a blood test (in which case you can either take it to a laboratoire, ask the local  nurse (infirmière) to come and see you, or have it taken at the hospital if their prise de sang department is open.
  • There will definitely be a prescription and instructions to scrub yourself with a bottle of Betadine anti-bacterial liquid or, if you are allergic to that, another fabulous body wash called Hibiscrub.
  • There may be a prescription for another xray or scan before the op.
  • There will most likely be a prescription for a lovely pair of stockings (you can often choose the colour) that will be worn during and after the operation to reduce the risk phlébite (inflammation in a vein).
  • There may be a form to request a private room (chambre individuelle which is not always available but they will try to allocate one for you if you have requested it.  These are always at an extra charge.)

  • There will be a form asking who the hospital can contact on your behalf or not, in case you are a film star or something and don’t want anybody to know you are there.
  • There will be a form telling you what time to arrive at the hospital for your op.
  • There is sometimes a form telling you how to complete the forms.
  • There will be a booklet explaining how the hospital works, the services it offers and which colours the different nursing and care staff wear.  It’s always handy to know if the person bed bathing you is a nurse or a cleaner….
  • Oh yes, and with a bit of luck you will get a nice shiny folder to put it all in

BUT – each hospital is different so don’t panic if you don’t have all of these.

Go home and get your pen out

In between the visit to the surgeon and the operation you will have your appointment with the anaesthetist.  Take the same paperwork as before, plus the forms you have filled in for your prescription, the form for the anaesthetist, and your blood test results. 

At the hospital take a ticket and, once signed it at the front desk, go to the anaesthetist outpatients area. Get your bar code print out and hand it to the anaesthetists’ secretary along with your completed personal information form. 

You will probably then have your blood pressure taken before you see the anaesthetist.  In as many ops as I have had I have not yet come across an anaesthetist who did not speak some English, so listen carefully, answer questions, ask questions.

Once you have been given the okay for the op, the secretary will confirm the details with you and you will be free to go home and relax!

I have not yet come across an anaesthetist who did not speak some English, so listen carefully, answer questions, ask questions.