Chronology

The 19th century

  • 1880s – First full-time ambulance service run by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. At this time all of the ambulance fleet were horse-drawn. 

The 20th century

  • 1900s – Introduction of petrol-driven ambulance.
  • 1912 – Last horse-drawn ambulance used.
  • 1930 – London County Council takes responsibility for the ambulances in London.
  • 1948 – National Health Service is established.
  • 8 October 1952 – Triple train crash at Harrow and Wealdstone kills 112 and injures 170 people.
  • 1965 – London Ambulance Service is established from nine existing services.
  • 1972 – Visit from the Queen (again in 1975).
  • 1973 – Headquarters opened at Waterloo.

    1974 – London Ambulance Service transfers to control of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.
  • 1984 – Crown badge awarded by the Queen.
  • 1989 – London Ambulance Service museum opens at Ilford.
  • 1989 – £2m Fulham ambulance station opens. At the time it was the largest ambulance station in the UK.
  • 7 July 1989 – Princess Diana visits.
  • 1991 – First paramedic motorcycles used.
  • 1991 – Permanent emergency planning unit established.
  • 1992 – Major failure of software in control room causes delays in attending to calls.
  • 1996 - Following the introduction of the level one paramedic qualification, our first staff qualify as paramedics.
  • 1 April 1996 – London Ambulance Service becomes an NHS trust.
  • May 1998 – Queen Mother visits.

The 21st century

  • 2000 – First bicycle ambulances used.
  • 2001 - Introduction of fast response units - staff who work on their own in cars as a single responder.
  • 2002 - The service achieves the government target of reaching 75 per cent of the most serious and life-threatening calls within eight minutes.
  • 2002 - Introduction of satellite navigation and mobile data terminals (to track changes in patient condition en-route to a call) onto ambulances and fast response cars.
  • 2004 – Community defibrillation officer appointed to coordinate installation of defibrillators—machines used to restart a person's heart—in public places and training of members of the public in how to use them.
  • 2005 – Dedicated urgent operations centre opened to deal with less serious calls.
     
  • 2006 - Introduction of Fast Response Electronic Dispatch (FRED) and Fast Response Electronic Dispatch for Ambulances (FREDA). This award-winning computer software automatically dispatches emergency vehicles to incidents.
  • 7 July 2005 – More than 250 staff involved in the emergency response to the London bombings.
  • 2007 – Ambulance community responder volunteers introduced to provide medical aid to patients while an ambulance is on its way.
  • November and December 2007 – Busiest months on record for the Service.
  • 2008 – London Ambulance Service rated best ambulance service in the country in the Healthcare Commission annual health check.