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France launches new hotline for out-of-hours medical help

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France launches new hotline for out-of-hours medical help
Photo: AFP
16:46 CEST+02:00
France is rolling out a new number for out-of-office hours consultations with GPs. But it's only in certain areas, for now.
If you're living in Corsica, Normandy, or Pays-de-la-Loire then you're among the guinea pigs testing a new 24-hour doctor's helpline. 
 
Those calling the toll-free number can organize home visits, get advice, or sort out an emergency home-visit if need be. 
 
The Health Ministry is rolling out the new line on Thursday - reachable by dialling 116 117 - but only in the three regions mentioned above. 
 
If the test is deemed a success, then the rest of France will be able to benefit from it too by the end of the year. 
 
Health Minister Marisol Touraine noted that the number was "simple and easy to remember" at the launch, 
 
The ministry launched the line in the aim of getting people to stop using the "15" number just to get information, when it's supposed to be used strictly for emergencies.
 
The new number won't be available around the clock, however. Users can only get through after 8pm each night, after midday on Saturday, and throughout the day on public holidays.
 
With the new 116 117 line, France can now lay claim to a total of 12 emergency numbers (although here at The Local we think it's time France had one number to rule them all).
 
In case you're in need: 
 
Dial 17 for the police, dial 18 for firefighters, or 15 for ambulance crews.
 
The coastguard is 196, to report an aeronautical emergency it's 191 and for missing children its 116 000. Then there's 115 for emergency shelter and 119 to report children in danger.
 
Then there is 112, which works as a Europen-wide emergency number, 114 is a text messaging hotline for those who are hard of hearing, and 197 is for kidnapping or terror. 
 
And in case you weren't confused enough, add 116 117 for the out-of hours GP and you're on your way. Good luck. 
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