There are several emergency telephone numbers in France, the main ones being 15 (medical emergency, SAMU), 17 (police and gendarmerie) and 18 (firefighters).
The planned trial will take place in a larger region, which has yet to be announced.
Mr. Macron declared that “the only objective is to improve the care of victims”. He was speaking at the national conference of firefighters in Marseille.
The experiment will involve the creation of three different telephone platforms. One will group together all calls to 15, 17 or 18 under the same number, another will group only calls to 15 and 18, and a third will group all calls to 15 or other medical emergencies.
In France – as in the rest of the European Union – you can already call 112 to access one of the emergency services.
However, the individual numbers of the different services are still considered to be the main numbers to use in an emergency in France.
The idea of using a single emergency service number has divided professionals.
In May, when MPs voted to experiment with a single number, the French firefighters union, the National Federation of Firefighters of France (FNSPF) backed the plan.
“France is a country where confusion reigns over emergency telephone numbers”, writes the federation in a press release.
“It is time to clarify things, at a time when natural, pandemic, technological and terrorist crises are part of daily risks, and sometimes accumulate.
However, the SAMU was less supportive of the idea.
Dr François Braun, president of the Samu-Urgences union in France, also said in May that the introduction of a new system risked “disrupting the entire hospital chain”.
« [The number 15] is a little gem that should not be lost, ”he told AFP.
“The first person to take a health call should be a health care professional. Put an intermediary between the SAMU and the patients [will cause] waste of time and scramble the message [because] often the first words [on the call] are the most important.
Making 112 the only emergency number in France would be “a mistake”