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Extra Time For Ambulance Calls


8:05am 17th January 2015

A new pilot scheme is giving our ambulance service a vital few more minutes to make better decisions on 999 calls.

Call handlers for South Western Ambulance will now have 120 more seconds to get all the information they need on non-life threatening calls before deciding what type of response to send.

Director of Operations at the service Neil Le Chevalier says it means resources will be better spent.

He told Wessex FM: "If your call is not life-saving what this new trail will mean we will have more time on the phone to decide on whether to send an ambulance or not."

"That will mean in effective we will be able to control the demand better and those ambulances that need to go on life-saving calls will be released that much quicker."

Evidence shows that less than 10 per cent of 999 calls are for genuinely life threatening conditions, yet ambulance services currently categorise around 40 per cent of calls as such, partly because call handlers have only 60 seconds to gather the information they need before an ambulance vehicle must be sent.

Clinical experts believe extending the call handling time by 120 second for non-life threatening calls will reduce the number of double dispatches, freeing up more ambulances to respond to more patients, and will also allow the 999 response to be more accurately targeted to patient need, improving the service as a whole.

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