Ambulance Service of New South Wales
  1. Home
  2. Our Performance
  3. Response Times
Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size

Response Times

NSW Ambulance Emergency Response Time is the period between when a Triple Zero (000) emergency call is recorded by us and the time the first ambulance resource arrives at the scene in a life-threatening case. In Australia, the 50th percentile response time is a key measure, allowing our performance to be compared with other states.

In 2012/13 the 50th percentile (median) response time for potentially life-threatening cases was 11.13 minutes for the State (this means that at least 50 per cent of potentially life threatening cases were responded to within 11.13 minutes).

The change in response performance is primarily due to higher demand and longer off stretcher times which limited the overall availability of ambulances to respond.

The 50th percentile response time for the highest priority cases is shown below.

  

 

Control Centre call answering performance

The table below shows the percentage of emergency calls (from Triple Zero "000") answered by each of Ambulances four Control Centres within 10 seconds and 45 seconds.

Control Centre      

Calls Answered in 10 sec (%)

Calls Answered in 45 sec (%)

Sydney

90.94

97.72

Northern

91.56

98.42

Southern

89.86

98.31

Western

90.08

98.29

Total

90.90

98.02

In 2012/13, 90.90 per cent of emergency calls were answered in 10 seconds. By 45 seconds 98.02 per cent of emergency calls were answered.

Ten longest response times for months of Jan to Dec 2013:

  • Nearly half (49%) of the 120 incidents related to a remote location, and 27% were due to high workload at the time. Floods, fire, weather, and driving conditions account for 11% of incidents.
  • Nearly three quarters (71%) of the responses resulted in the patient being transported to hospital as a non-emergency or not transported at all.
  • The longest three response times recorded in this period were due to flood conditions in January and March 2013.

 

Aeromedical Activity 

In addition to road ambulance responses   the Ambulance Service tasks 4 fixed wing aircraft and 9 helicopters.

Fixed Wing are aircraft are located in Sydney (Sydney Airport) and Dubbo.

Helicopters are located at Lismore, Newcastle, Tamworth, Sydney (3), Orange, Wollongong and Canberra

Fixed Wing

In 2012 – 2013 the fixed wing fleet transported 6565 patients; 20 more patients than the previous year. The activity for the last 4 years is illustrated below.

Helicopter

In 2012 - 2013 the helicopter network undertook a total of 3537 missions, 46 more missions than the previous year. There were 1790 responses to accidents and rescues and 1747 interhospital transfers. Overall helicopter mission numbers are remaining constant. This is because more patients are being taken directly to the hospital that can provide their definitive care and not require a second transfer. The activity for the last 4 years is illustrated below.

 Helicopter Response Time

Helicopter emergency response time is the period between the helicopter being tasked and the time the helicopter takes-off.

Like all aircraft aviation planning is required before a helicopter can take off.

The 50th percentile response time for emergency rescue and accident incidents is the key measure. The expected response time performance is 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes at night.

The day & night time performance is illustrated below.

 

Day time performance

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Sydney

9 minutes

9 minutes

9 minutes

Wollongong

10 minutes

9 minutes

10 minutes

Orange

8 minutes

10 minutes

9 minutes

Canberra*

14 minutes

15 minutes

13 minutes

Lismore

13 minutes

12 minutes

19 minutes

Newcastle

10 minutes

10 minutes

9 minutes

Tamworth

9 minutes

8 minutes

10 minutes

 

Night time performance

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Sydney

12 minutes

10 minutes

13 minutes 

Wollongong

12 minutes

12 minutes

 15 minutes

Orange**

N/A

N/A

 N/A

Canberra*

26 minutes

26 minutes

 21 minutes

Lismore

17 minutes

20 minutes

 28 minutes

Newcastle

12 minutes

14 minutes

 12 minutes

Tamworth**

N/A

N/A

 N/A

 

* Orange and Tamworth are daytime only services.

Helicopter Availability

Like all aircraft, helicopters require regular maintenance to ensure safety and performance. The contract arrangements between the Ambulance Service and its helicopter providers allow for helicopters to be offline for maintenance for a prescribed period each month. The allowed time varies between 20 hours per month to 144 hours per month depending on the requirements of individual contracts.

The average monthly offline time for each service is given in the following table. 

 

Average monthly offline time (hours)

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Sydney Helicopter 1

45.3

78

73.4

Sydney Helicopter 2

27.3

166

62.1

Wollongong

22.3

42.5

57.3

Orange

11.0

47.8

62.6

Canberra*

18.6

47.1

68.5

Lismore

17.8

26

29.6

Newcastle

15.1

11.4

1.1

Tamworth

20.9

10.8

4.5

During 2012-2013 the Sydney and Wollongong aircraft had to undergo a routine major service which occurs once every 3 to 5 years. A major service can take up to 10 weeks to complete. The Canberra and Orange aircraft each had a prolonged unscheduled maintenance period during 2012-2013.

 

 

100601response

Response times measure the time elapsed between a call for ambulance assistance being recorded and ambulance resources arriving at the scene of an incident.

> Response Times 2010/11
> Response Times 2009/10
> Response Times 2008/09