Londoners continue to receive fast ambulance response

Ambulance staff are continuing to provide a fast response to seriously ill and injured patients in the capital and giving them better care and treatment.

Figures released today show that the London Ambulance Service attended a total of more than one million emergency incidents in 2009/10 – an increase of four per cent on the previous 12 months.

Of these, nearly 330,000 were to people believed to be in an immediately life-threatening condition (Category A). A total of 75.5 per cent were reached within eight minutes, meeting the Government’s national performance target of 75 per cent.

An additional 6,450 calls were attended within the target time in a year when staff started to take patients who had suffered a stroke – a type of brain injury – directly to new hyper acute stroke units.

There are eight of these centres operating around the clock in London, and patients receive quick access to a specialist scan and expert treatment, which will increase their chance of survival and cut the risk of long-term disability.

During the year, the Service also prepared for the opening of specialist major trauma centres – three of which went live in April. They are equipped to deal with patients who suffer life-threatening injuries, including amputations or gunshot wounds.

Patients who suffer heart attacks are already taken directly to cardiac catheter laboratories to enable them to be given primary angioplasty, a procedure which involves inflating a balloon inside an artery to enable a blockage to be cleared.

Londoners whose hearts stop beating in public and suffer a cardiac arrest are over six times more likely to survive than 10 years ago.

Chief Executive Peter Bradley said: “We had another very challenging year, which was at times made harder still by the swine flu and prolonged spells of cold weather, so it is very pleasing that our staff were able to maintain such a good service to the people of London.

“Just as importantly, we have also seen more developments in patient care, and we will continue to look for ways to further improve these over the coming year.”

Responses to Category B calls (serious but not immediately life-threatening) also improved.

A total of 86.4 per cent were reached within 19 minutes, up from 84.5 per cent in 2008/09 but still short of the 95 per cent target.

The Service was also able to use clinical telephone advice to handle 66,168 calls from patients with not immediately serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries (Category C).

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Notes to editors

London Ambulance Service 2009/10 response time and demand figures:

Response times

  • 75.5 per cent of Category A calls (immediately life-threatening) reached within eight minutes. This represented 247,967 incidents, compared to 241,517 in 2008/09 – an increase of 6,450.
  • 98.7 per cent of Category A calls reached within 19 minutes.
  • 86.4 per cent of Category B calls (serious but not immediately life-threatening) reached within 19 minutes.

Demand

  • A total of 1,480,274 of emergency calls were received in the Emergency Operations Centre, compared to 1,423,496 in 2008/09 – an increase of 4 per cent.
  • A total of 1,012,927 emergency incidents were attended, compared to 973,908 in 2008/09 (up 4 per cent). Of these, 328,616 were classed as Category A – up 2.7 per cent from 319,677 in 2008/09.

Full details can be found on the NHS Information Centre website at http://www.ic.nhs.uk/

For further information on the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the Communications Department on 020 7921 5113.