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EMAS welcomes national ambulance service standards announcement

NHS England has today announced a new set of performance standards for English ambulance services.

We welcome the announcement; it is clear that patient safety and patient care is at the heart of this national programme.

In most 999 calls we know the best clinical outcome for patients is not about the fastest response by the nearest vehicle, but the most appropriate one.

The changes focus on making sure the best, most appropriate response is provided for each patient first time. They are designed to change the rules on performance standards so that they are met by doing the right thing for the patient rather than trying to ‘stop the clock’.

Following the announcement today, there will be four categories of call. These categories will be introduced at EMAS from 00.01 hours on Wednesday 19 July 2017.

  • Category one is for calls about people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. These will be responded to in an average time of seven minutes.
  • Category two is for emergency calls. These will be responded to in an average time of 18 minutes.
  • Category three is for urgent calls. In some instances you may be treated by ambulance staff in your own home. These types of calls will be responded to at least nine out of 10 times within 120 minutes.
  • Category four is for less urgent calls. In some instances you may be given advice over the telephone or referred to another service such as a GP or pharmacist. These less urgent calls will be responded to at least 9 out of 10 times within 180 minutes.

 This redesigned system for ambulance services in England focusses on ensuring patients get rapid life saving, life-changing treatment, and is strongly endorsed by expert organisations such as the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Stroke Association, and the College of Paramedics.