11 Ambulance services

11 Ambulance services
11 Ambulance services

1. Response times by geographic area

‘Response times by geographic area’ is an indicator of governments’ objective to provide ambulance services in an accessible manner.

‘Response times by geographic area’ is defined as the time taken between the initial receipt of the call for an emergency at the communications centre, and the arrival of the first responding ambulance resource at the scene of an emergency code 1 incident (illustrated below), by geographic area (capital city and state-wide), for the 90th and 50th percentile.

Capital city response times are currently measured by the response times within each jurisdictions’ capital city – boundaries are based on the ABS Greater Capital City Statistical Areas.

Response times are calculated for the 90th and 50th percentile – the time (in minutes) within which 90% and 50% of the first responding ambulance resources arrive at the scene of an emergency code 1 incident.

Many factors influence response times by geographic location including:

  • land area
  • population size and density
  • dispersion of the population (particularly rural/urban population proportions), topography, road/transport infrastructure and traffic densities
  • crew configurations, response systems and processes, and travel distances – for example, some jurisdictions include responses from volunteer stations (often in rural areas) where turnout times are generally longer because volunteers are on call as distinct from being on duty.

Short or decreasing response times are desirable. Short response times potentially minimise adverse effects on patients and the community of delayed emergency responses. Similar response times across geographic areas indicate equity of access to ambulance services.

Supporting data on triple zero call answering times are available in table 11A.6. Nationally, in 2022-23, 93.4% of calls from triple zero emergency call services were answered by ambulance services communication staff in 10 seconds or less. This is an increase from 82.2% in 2021-22 and is the highest proportion of calls answered in 10 seconds or less over the ten years of available data (table 11A.6). These data do not measure the time taken for triple zero calls to be answered by emergency services telecommunication staff prior to re-direction to ambulance services communication staff.

Source: pc.gov.au

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