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Single responders

As well as crews who work together on an ambulance, we also have a number of single responders, who go to patients by car, motorcycle or bicycle.

APPs Feb 2019

They are able to treat patients without the help of an ambulance crew, or are sent to a patient ahead of an ambulance as they still carry the vital life-saving equipment needed in an emergency.

In life-threatening emergencies we will send a single responder and an ambulance crew to treat the patient. In these situations every second counts, and a single responder can get through the traffic faster than a large ambulance which means we can get treatment to a patient more quickly.

However, our single responders have been fully trained to work on their own. They are emergency medical technicians or paramedics who have the skills to assess patients to see whether they definitely need treatment by an ambulance crew.

In some parts of London we are supported in our work by ambulance community responders, who work for us on a voluntary basis. These are members of the public who have had emergency life-support training, and they respond alongside our staff to life-threatening 999 calls.

We plan to increase the number of single responders to ensure that we are able to retain crewed ambulances for those patients who need them.

Click on the boxes to find out about all our different single responders:

  • Critical care advanced paramedic practitioners (APPs)

    Advanced paramedics carry more equipment and have a greater variety of drugs they can give to patients. But, vitally, they’re there to respond to London’s most critically ill and injured people. For example, on average our paramedics will respond to up to six cardiac arrests a year, whereas our APP Dan (below) responded to 270 in his first two years in the role.

    Meet APP who Dan joined us in 2004 and became an APP in 2014. He said: “At times this job restores your faith in humanity. The calls we get from people about an elderly neighbour or passers-by who stop when someone’s been hit by a car – you’d be surprised by the number of people who care about others.”

    “The sheer volume of calls that come in now on an average day is what we used to get on New Year’s Eve when I joined the ambulance service 12 years ago. And so, what was an abnormal, one-off day is now a fairly regular thing.”

  • Urgent care advanced paramedic practitioners (APPs)

    We launched our urgent care APP programme in February 2017 to help treat more Urgent Care APPpatients at home or refer them to care in their community and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

    These highly skilled clinicians provide advanced care to patients who have complex urgent care needs and can conduct a huge range of health interventions.

    Working alongside the APPs in the response cars, is another urgent care APP in our control room determining which 999 calls need their help.

    On scene, our APPs conduct a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition and recommend the right treatment and diagnosis. The medics aim to treat and keep the patient home or within their community as much as possible.

  • Frailty and falls paramedic

    Ambulance and car

    These clinicians respond to elderly patients who have fallen as their needs are often complex.

    Patients who have fallen often don’t require admission to hospital and can be treated at the scene. Our specialist resource can assist the patient and provide a better assessment of their health and social care needs.


  • Cycle response unit

    Our pedal powered paramedics can often be first on scene at a 999 call as they weave through (or cut out!) London traffic. Our cycle responders operate in busy locations, especially where there are large pedestrian areas including Canary Wharf, Croydon, Kensington, St Pancras Station and Heathrow Airport. Watch this video and join them on a ride out.

  • Motorcycle response unit

    Meet our motorcycle response unit on a typical day responding to 999 calls in London. These clinicians work in central London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the City of London.