SAMU and all that


(Karen Thomas) #1

Trying to organise myself and I went up to the local links section to get emergency and out of hours numbers etc.


Instead of calling SAMU in an emergency the suggestion is that you get the local number for the out of hours service. It said to google permanence des soins numéro téléphone and my area. It comes up with nothing apart from health links telling me not to dial SAMU unless I have to and to use my local number - yes, well....


Are the permanence des soins numéro téléphone numbers simply for the more populated areas? I ask because it also mentions health centres as well and I wasn't aware of a health centre around here....




(Karen Thomas) #2

Thanks, Terry.

The list is handy - for instance I'd got no idea about the 112 number before I read it. But getting to grips with who deals with what here in France can take a bit of getting your head around.

I'll ask the at the Mairie to see if I can find the department's number and at least I now know that there is a possibilty that something like this might exist. Prior to me reading your Help section I only every knew about 18!

(I didn't know in the UK about the 101 and 111 numbers either!)


(Terry Williams) #3

Karen, just spotted this.

No, the after hours numbers are not restricted to big cities. I live in Lozere and you don't get more rural than that. Lozere has such a number as I said in Useful Links/Emergency! .

The local fire brigade is the ambulance service so far as I know. It's certainly the case here and it was also the case when I slipped on some steps in Paris and ruptured my quadriceps tendon. In a major emergency the SAMU will also send their own emergency vehicle staffed by specialists, including a doctor I believe. But in rural areas they can be some way away (ours is 37 km away, while the fire brigade is 5 km from us).

Like Brian, the local firemen and women greet me as an old friend and all ask me how I'm getting on.

I'm sorry you couldn't find your department's number with the Google search I suggest. Ask your doctor, the chemist, the mairie, the prefecture, even the fire brigade. Have you looked in your local newspaper? Ours has a regular box item with all the emergency numbers. If yours doesn't, you could call them and ask them why not. And ask them at the same time what the number is!

It may also be the case that your department hasn't set up this service but I have no information on that.

If you call 15 for the SAMU and it's not an emergency they will put you through to the on-call doctor. But your call may be blocking someone who has a real emergency. Which is why in the UK they introduced the second-level 101 and 111 numbers. And it's why I believe people should make the effort to find these special non-emergency numbers and use them. (Gets down off high horse trying not to fall and having to dial 15).


(Brian Milne) #4

Don't worry, all of our French friends do as well.


(Karen Thomas) #5

I think Martha is right and I'm going to have to check with the pompiers locally.

It seems, yet again, that all departments are different.

I get a bit confused sometimes in France...


(Brian Milne) #6

We have that too Martha. Then we are 12 km from the SAMU closest place and, as I understand it, two calls at the same time and they have to call out the next nearest or the taxi company.


(Martha Greenlees) #7

In the rural area I once knew, the pompiers/firemen had the faster and closer ambulance service and everyone knew to ring them. Here in rural Dordogne, there is no SAMU for miles and it is the local taxi service that doubles as an ambulance, though with limited equipment. Why not check with the taxi service and the local pompiers in advance (of any crisis) to know what to do, Karen? They should be able to advise.


(Karen Thomas) #8

They'll be blocking your number soon!


(Brian Milne) #9

That suddenly makes me feel really ill. Phone... ;-)


(Karen Thomas) #10

You really must stop dialling the number, Brian. You can get into trouble for it - no matter how much you want to see the beautiful young lady with the flashing eyes.

Try and hang on in there till Christmas.


(Brian Milne) #11

Haven't done it myself, but since early 2012 there have been several calls to collect me, blue lights and all. So far it has been quick, efficient and the beautiful young lady who comes round with the Christmas calendar not only flashes her eyes at me but also asks how I am.


(Tracy Thurling) #12

We have youngish children and are on first name terms with the 15 people as everyone with kids knows, they only get sick on weekends, bank holidays and the middle of the night. If we call our local rural doctor we hear a recorded message asking us to call 15.

When you call you speak to someone who asks you what the problem is, they will give you advice or put you through to the on call doctor. The doctor will then ask you about the problem, find out what home medicaments you have in, then will either advise you to go to A & E, call you an ambulance or make you an appointment with the out of hours doctor in your area.

The SAMU stands for Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente and we have always found the to be very helpful and friendly. I believe 112 is the international emergency throughout Europe but hae no idea if they have English speakers.


(Karen Thomas) #13

Thanks David.

I had heard that 112 had English speakers - I was just concerned that this was somehow an infringement because lots of the websites say to call out of ours GPs first. Mind you, they do usually talk about Paris!


(David GAY) #14

Just call 112 or call 15 for SAMU. 112 has the advantage that they have English speakers.


(Karen Thomas) #15

I wonder if the pompiers are sort of a rural substitute for the out of hours emergency doctor? Then if it requires more expertise they call SAMU?