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New ambulance standards

Following the largest clinical ambulance trials in the world, South East Coast Ambulance Service is to implement new ambulance standards.

The changes focus on making sure the best, high quality, most appropriate response is provided for each patient first time.

Historically ambulance services are allowed up to 60 seconds from receiving a call to sending a vehicle. They told us this isn’t long enough.

So from now on call handlers will be given more time to assess 999 calls that are not immediately life-threatening, which will enable them to identify patients’ needs better and send the most appropriate response.

Ambulance services are measured on the time it takes from receiving a 999 call to a vehicle arriving at the patient’s location.

Life-threatening and emergency calls, under the current standards, should be responded to in eight minutes. We know that most patients do not need this level of response.

So, in future there will be four categories of call.

Category 1 – Calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries

This short animation explains more about these calls:

Category 2 – Emergency calls

Hear more about these types of calls:

Category 3 – Urgent calls

Watch this short animation on what an urgent call is:

Category 4 – Less urgent calls

Learn more about what this means: