South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS
Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has welcomed the introduction of new
system of national ambulance response standards aimed to ensure
patients in the most need get a quicker response.

The standards, which were announced by NHS England today, (13
July 2017), will be rolled out over the coming months and are
designed to ensure that the most suitable high-quality response is
delivered to every patient in an appropriate clinical

The new standards, which have undergone rigorous testing on more
than 10 million 999 calls as part of the Ambulance Response
Programme, will allow ambulance services to focus attention on
providing an even faster response to patients who are truly
life-threatened while also reducing transport delays for all other
categories of patients.

The new system gives Emergency Medical Advisors (EMAs) in
Emergency Operations Centres extra time to assess the level of
clinical response a patient (who is not immediately
life-threatened) may need and then more accurately decide on the
most appropriate resources to send. This means that ambulance
resources are then more likely to be available to patients with
life-threatening conditions including those in cardiac arrest.

A new pre-triage set of questions will identify those patients
in need of the fastest response earlier than occurs at present. In
calls which are not deemed immediately life threatening, EMAs will
also be given up to 180 seconds longer to get all the information
they need from a person making a 999 call before deciding on the
right type of response. This is called Dispatch on Disposition.

At the same time a new evidence-based set of clinical codes has
been introduced into ambulance control systems that better match
the patient’s presenting condition with the most suitable ambulance
response requirement.

For the most serious calls, where every second counts,
ambulances continue to be dispatched immediately. This group of
patients will now be designated Category 1. The category is
expected to contain almost double the number of patients who were
in the original top Red 1 category, thereby ensuring that all those
patients with a life-threatening emergency continue to receive the
fastest possible response.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Chief Executive Daren Mochrie
said: “We welcome the introduction of these new national ambulance
response standards. They will ensure we are better placed to
respond to our patients more efficiently and with the most
appropriate resource. As well as ensuring greater availability of
our ambulance crews they also bring a greater focus on clinical
outcomes for patients.”