Dial 15 for the SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente)


The SAMU is the French hospital based emergency medical service, providing around the clock phone support, and swift and appropriate emergency call out. Dial 15 at any time if an emergency medical situation arises. They will: –

☛ Give medical advice over the phone
☛ Send ambulances where appropriate
☛ Send a GP to your home
☛ Send mobile resuscitation unit in absolute emergency
☛ Manage large scale crisis

Dial 112 from British and other mobile and your call will be redirected to the local emergency telephone number.

 Most mobile phones can dial 112 calls even when the phone keyboard is locked or the phone is without a SIM card. The switch board is able to transfer you directly to an English-speaking specialist in the emergency services who will identify the type of emergency based upon the information supplied.

Dial 08 20 20 41 42 (Perpignan) for SOS Médecins

 For less urgent medical problems, SOS Médecins, a private ambulance company. Twenty four hour service

Spotlight on….. the SAMU


In 1792, Dominique LARREY, Napoleon Bonaparte’s surgeon-in-chief used to treat casualties directly, on the battle field in the hope of preventing complications such as gangrene – immobilization, excision and, if necessary, amputation were the principal methods.

Subsequent wars have confirmed the importance of early treatment.

The SAMU was created in the 1960s when a group of doctors wished to redress the balance between the treatment a casualty received in hospital compared to the available treatment at a road accident or in a patients home, recognising that to increase the patient’s chances of survival, quicker and better ‘on the spot’ measures were imperative.

Despite initial scepticism, the French Ministry of Transport contributed to the development of the first pilot Hospital Mobile Intensive Care Units (H-MICU) and since then the SAMU has gone from strength to strength


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