I know the call I dread the most. When my mobile rings and the number on the display screen is that of my children’s school, I know that they’ve come down with something nasty.
Last month all my three children got sick at the same time and we swiftly succumbed too. As I coughed my eyes out and ran around like a crazed Florence Nightingale tending to the three tiddlers, Expat Husband thought it would be the perfect moment to jet off to London for three days for the usual whirlwind of meetings, top-floor nibbles and Caffè Nero espresso (someone’s got to do it he says).
As these things always come in three, our garage door AND hot water pump also decided to pack it in for good. It is at times likes this that expat life shows its hardest side, as you have no family around to help and – for better or for worse – it all balances entirely on your shoulders.
However, the silver lining to all this is that emergency health care for children in Geneva is absolutely fantastic.
If your child is very sick outside of working hours for the paediatrician you normally see, you can ring these paediatric emergency numbers and they will give you an appointment for the same day (saving you from having to wait for hours with one or more sick children in tow).
After 10pm you will need to call paediatric emergencies (SAUP: Service d’Accueil et d’Urgences Pédiatriques) at the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), Hôpital des Enfants, avenue de la Roseraie 45, 1205 Geneva (tel. 022 372 45 55), click here for the website. They do not operate an appointment system but they are very efficient (they’re Swiss after all!) and will usually see your child within one hour.
If you live in canton Vaud, Nyon Hospital also offers an excellent children’s emergency department for children under the age of 16. Check the link for full details (the info on their webpage is all in English, hurray!).
But this is not all: if the nipper gets ill and you can’t take time off work, the Croix-Rouge Suisse (Swiss Red Cross) will arrange emergency childcare at your house. This service is called Chaperon Rouge and can be an absolute lifesaver in emergencies like this.
The numbers to call are:
for Geneva 022 304 04 82
for Canton Vaud 021 340 00 80 (check the website for Vaud at Croix Rouge section Vaudoise)