Deputies, doctors and representatives of medical organizations: 250 of them signed on May 22 a tribune in the Journal du Dimanche against the experiment of a “single emergency call number”. An unprecedented movement, according to Agnès Ricard-Hibon, president of the French Society of Emergency Medicine and signatory of the forum.
Towards an increase in deaths?
On May 12, the deputies voted to experiment with a single number, 112, for all emergencies. The idea is to centralize all calls to respondents who will then redirect them to dedicated emergencies. But according to the signatories of this forum, bringing together all the emergency services within the same number would increase the risk of errors, delays, and even death.
“Today, thanks to a well-known health number, 15, we manage 30 million calls per year. Tomorrow, access will no longer be direct and there will be an untrained intermediary who will ask questions without having any medical knowledge, ”explains Agnès Ricard-Hibon.
To read also: Emergencies: liberal doctors opposed to the “single health number”
Too long support times
According to François Braun, president of the Syndicat Samu-Urgences de France, “in the eight European countries which only use 112, we lose three times more time with the single number than with a number dedicated to health, according to a European study ”.
But in a medical emergency, time is of the essence. This is the case with stroke. “We have tingling in the arm, we lose our balance a little,” describes François Braun.
A person who is not trained to recognize these symptoms will not send an ambulance to bring the person to the hospital. “But when we do get to the hospital, we will realize that it is too late to administer the treatment. And this is unacceptable, ”denounces the doctor.
Two different platforms?
Calls concerning health problems represent 40% of calls to emergency numbers. François Braun and Agnès Ricard-Hibon both insist on the effectiveness of this service. Nevertheless, these two doctors agree on the fact that France has too many emergency numbers.
To overcome this problem, they suggest with the other signatories of the forum the creation of two telephone platforms. One would concentrate the health calls, and the other the security calls, intended for firefighters or police for example. “To each his own job,” they both add.
In addition, the idea of a single emergency number is too old according to François Braun. “It’s an old moon that’s thirty years old!” Instead, let’s use current technologies. We have more and more digital tools, a connected watch can take your pulse for example. For the doctor, it is in this direction that we must move forward, and not in that of a single number.