How we prioritise calls

Every time we receive a 999 call, our staff record the relevant details and use information about the nature of the patient’s illness or injury to ensure they are sent the right medical help.

Our call-handlers—known as emergency medical dispatchers—use sophisticated software to put the call into a particular category, based on its urgency.

Up until April 2011, we prioritised calls into three categories. This had been either Category A (immediately life-threatening), Category B (serious but not immediately life-threatening) or Category C (not serious or life-threatening).

From 19 April 2011, and following the removal of the Category B target, calls are now going to be handled as either Category A or Category C.

Find about more about our national targets.