SCAS, along with all other English ambulance trusts, has performance measured against NHS England’s Ambulance Quality Indicators. These aim to make sure ambulance services are reaching patients as quickly as they possibly can.
Under this national system there are four categories, with category one being the most serious incidents. All categories have a performance standard based on the time it takes to respond to the incident.
Category one is for calls about people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. We aim to respond to these in an average time of 7 minutes and at least 9 out of 10 times within 15 minutes.
Category two is for emergency calls. We aim to respond to these in an average time of 18 minutes and at least 9 out of 10 times within 40 minutes.
Category three is for urgent calls. In some instances you may be treated by ambulance staff in your own home. We aim to respond to these within 120 minutes at least 9 out of 10 times.
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. We aim to respond to these at least 9 out of 10 times within 180 minutes.
Our emergency response is not just measured on time alone, but on how we treat patients and the outcomes of the treatment. All of this data is made available publicly every month on the NHS England website.
Our demand, like that of all ambulance services, has increased and pressure on ambulance services reflects the challenges facing the whole health and social care system.
While we want to respond to all patients as soon as we can, calls are prioritised based on clinical urgency to ensure those who are most at risk receive the life-saving care and treatment they require as quickly as possible from our paramedics and the community first responders and co-responders they are often assisted by.
There will be occasions when prioritisation means some patients will wait longer, particularly at times of significant pressure on the service as we have been experiencing for some time now, but we are working extremely hard within our own service and with our partners to provide as much resilience in the system as we can to limit delays.