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Ambulance services: 16 emergency calls to 999 per minute

July 31, 2014: Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that ambulance trusts dealt with an average of 16.1 emergency calls per minute (23,216 on average per day) in 2013-14.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Figures are available to ambulance trust level

Today's Ambulance Services, England: 2013-14 report shows 8.47 million emergency calls were made to 999 in 2013-14 overall, an average of 16.1 calls per minute. This is a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to the previous year (8.54 million).2 Ambulance Services can also receive emergency calls via the 111 service.

Emergency vehicles responded to 6.33 million calls; 95.1 per cent (6.02 million) were responses to a 999 emergency call and 4.9 per cent (309,260) were in response to a call from the 111 service.

Of all calls that required an emergency vehicle just under half (45.4 per cent or 2.87 million) were classed as Category A (urgent)3. Of these, 4.7 percent (135,240) were Red 1 emergencies (the most urgent) and 95.3 per cent (2.74 million) were Red 2 (serious but less urgent) 4.

The national agreed standard for Category A calls is for emergency response vehicles to arrive on the scene within eight minutes in 75 per cent of cases. In 2013-14, emergency services arrived within eight minutes for 75.6 per cent of Red 1 calls and 74.8 per cent of Red 2 calls.

Of the 11 ambulance trusts, three failed to achieve the eight minute response time for Red 1 calls and four trusts failed to achieve this for Red 2 calls. East Midlands and East of England Ambulance Trusts failed to meet the targets for both Red 1 and Red 2 calls.5

You can find the full report at  


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. The calls per day is an average based on 365 days in a year. 111 calls are not included in the 8.47 million emergency calls.

3. Calls and responses: Calls are received by the ambulance service. The number of calls and emergency responses will not match as there may be multiple calls recorded for one incident and some calls may be resolved over the telephone without the need for an emergency response.

Category A: presenting conditions (Red 1 and Red 2) which may be immediately life threatening and should receive an emergency response i) within eight minutes irrespective of location in 75 per cent of cases. ii) if a fully equipped ambulance vehicle needs to attend the incident it must arrive within 19 minutes of the request for transport being made in 95 per cent of cases.

Red 1 calls: are the most time critical and cover severe conditions such as cardiac arrest patients who are not breathing and do not have a pulse.

Red 2 calls: are serious but less time critical and cover conditions such as stroke and fits.

4. Figures of over one million are rounded to two decimal places, figures under one million are rounded to the nearest ten and percentages are rounded to one decimal place. Exact figures are in the report.

5. The Ambulance Trusts that failed to reach the national standard response for Red 1 category calls were East Midlands, East of England and South Western Ambulance Trusts and for Red 2 calls this was East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England and South East Coast.

6. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.

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