At least 67 of the country’s 650 hospital emergency services units are treating fewer than the threshold figure of 8,000 to 10,000 cases per year, or 1.1 patients an hour, according to author Jean-Yves Grall, regional health director in Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
These units should be transformed into non-emergency health centres, to “avoid the unnecessary presence” of emergency doctors, Grall says in the study.
Such a move would affect health centres and ambulances services across the country, Le Figaro reports, listing in full the locations and services that would be affected.
The proposed move comes at the end of a summer which has seen six emergency services close their doors for at least one night because of a lack of personnel.
If adopted, it would also add further fuel on the fire for those health professionals who argue France is in danger of losing its position as the world’s number one health provider.
In March, a leaked memo from France's intelligence services said that the country's hospital emergency wards are on the brink of “social implosion”.
At that time, Christophe Prudhomme, spokesperson for the AMUF union which represents emergency ward doctors, told The Local that a lack of investment meant the situation in hospitals was similar to that of the UK's National Health Service under conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
But health minister Marisol Touraine has said France can only maintain its position as a world leader by profoundly reorganizing the system.
“It will disturb the habits of doctors and health professionals but we can do it – and as a left-wing government we must do it,” she said in June.
The health ministry has yet to make a line call on the recommendations put forward by Grall, Le Figaro reports.