Some Ambulance Callers 'to be Redirected'

New way of screening calls to be introduced

Ambulance trusts in England will be rolling out a new call screening technique in the next few weeks which will see some callers asked to seek treatment elsewhere. This comes as part of efforts to reduce ambulance response times across the country.

For certain calls falling into ‘category two’, where there is no immediate threat to life, call handlers will now arrange a callback from a medical professional rather than sending out an ambulance crew.

During each callback, a doctor, nurse or paramedic will assess the situation and determine whether an ambulance is required or if the caller could be treated by an urgent care clinic, GP or pharmacist instead.

It has been estimated that 40% of lower priority calls will now receive callbacks rather than having paramedic crews sent out to them.

Providing “individualised care” will free up resources

Before being launched across England, the new method of screening emergency calls was trialled in London and the West Midlands. These trials were successful, with nearly half of those who received callbacks being assessed as well enough to seek treatment elsewhere.

Professor Julian Redhead from NHS England has said that this new system of “individualised care” will “free up the resource for (the) most vulnerable patients, patients who will have had strokes or heart attacks”.

NHS England has emphasised that no one will lose their place in “the queue” while they’re assessed. But they will be encouraged to have a conversation about whether an ambulance would be the best response for them, or if they would be better cared for in an alternative environment.

Still wider issues to address

NHS England’s move towards additional call screening has been welcomed by health providers. But some have warned that it should not be seen as the ultimate solution for problems faced by the ambulance service.

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers has said: “Pressures in the ambulance service are linked to pressures across the whole system … We need to focus on reducing high bed occupancy, increasing bed capacity and tackling delayed discharges through increased investment in social care and community services.”

There is no denying that the current issues surrounding ambulance waiting times are concerning. If you or a loved one has been affected, you may be entitled to medical negligence compensation and support.

Get in touch to find out more about we could help.


Fill in our simple form and
get a call back at a time to suit you.

Or talk to our team on :

0808 256 2340

By submitting an enquiry to First4Lawyers you agree to the terms and conditions of service as outlined in our Privacy Policy.


It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing