Ambulance Service of New South Wales
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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 2013/14 the highest priority 1A 50th percentile (median) response time for potentially life-threatening cases was 7.65 minutes for the State (this means that at least 50 per cent of potentially life threatening cases were responded to within 7.65 minutes) (Figure 1).

In 2013/14 the priority 1 (P1) 50th percentile (median) response time for potentially life-threatening cases was 10.78 minutes for the State (this means that at least 50 per cent of potentially life threatening cases were responded to within 10.78 minutes) (Figure 2).

 

Figure 1: The 1A 50th percentile response time

 


Figure 2: The P1 50th percentile response time

 

 

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

85.8

96.9

Northern

86

96.5

Southern

80.7

96.5

Western

80.5

95.7

Total

84.8

96.6

 

In 2013/14, 84.8 per cent of emergency calls were answered in 10 seconds. By 45 seconds 96.6 per cent of emergency calls were answered.

 

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 2013 - 2014 the fixed wing fleet completed 3514 missions, transporting 6205 patients; 360 less patients than the previous year. The monthly activity for the last 5 years is illustrated below.

 

 

Helicopter

 

In 2013 – 2014 the helicopter network undertook a total of 3400 missions, 137 less missions than the previous year. There were 1653 responses to accidents and rescues and 1747 interhospital transfers. In recent years, overall helicopter mission numbers have remained relatively constant. The monthly activity for the last 5 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

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Sydney

9 minutes

9 minutes

6 minutes

Wollongong

9 minutes

10 minutes

9 minutes

Orange

10 minutes

9 minutes

8 minutes

Canberra*

15 minutes

13 minutes

13 minutes

Lismore

12 minutes

19 minutes

20 minutes

Newcastle

10 minutes

9 minutes

10 minutes

Tamworth

8 minutes

10 minutes

19 minutes

 

Night time performance

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Sydney

10 minutes

13 minutes

13 minutes 

Wollongong

12 minutes

15 minutes

 15 minutes

Orange**

N/A

N/A

 6 minutes

Canberra*

26 minutes

21 minutes

 21 minutes

Lismore

20 minutes

28 minutes

 38 minutes

Newcastle

14 minutes

12 minutes

 14 minutes

Tamworth**

N/A

N/A

 N/A

 

* Tamworth are daytime only services.

**Orange commenced 24 hour a day operations in March 2014

Lismore, Tamworth and Canberra do not have medical staff located at the base at all times. As such, delays are encountered awaiting the arrival of off site medical staff. Response times are expected to improve with the provision of dedicated medical staff being assigned to Lismore and Tamworth bases during 2014/15.

Helicopter Availability

Like all aircraft, helicopters require regular maintenance to ensure safety and performance. The contract arrangements between NSW Ambulance 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)

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Sydney Helicopter 1

78

73.4

118.6

Sydney Helicopter 2

166

62.1

52.78

Wollongong

42.5

57.3

62

Orange

47.8

62.6

53.8

Canberra*

47.1

68.5

18.1

Lismore

26

29.6

22

Newcastle

11.4

1.1

2.2

Tamworth

10.8

4.5

7.3

 

 

Response Times 2012-2013

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 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.

 

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 monthly 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 minutes

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 NSW Ambulance 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.

 


Response Times 2011-2012

 

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 2011/12 the 50th percentile (median) response time for potentially life-threatening cases was 10.93 minutes for the State (this means that at least 50 per cent of potentially life threatening cases were responded to within 10.93 minutes). The deterioration 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

91.70

98.83

Northern

91.54

98.79

Southern

90.73

98.71

Western

89.77

98.73

Total

91.39

98.80

 

In 2011/12, 91.4 per cent of emergency calls were answered in 10 seconds. By 45 seconds 98.8 per cent of emergency calls were answered.

 

 

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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