One of the key ways that the Queensland Ambulance Service is able to measure its performance is to calculate their response times to incidents. The response time is the amount of time it takes for a Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic to arrive at the scene of an emergency.
In the event of a medical emergency every second counts. Mere minutes can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to having access to life-saving treatment and resources that the Queensland Ambulance Service has to offer. That is why reducing response times is one of the most important goals of any ambulance and paramedic service.
Each year there is a report on government services (ROGS) that looks into ambulance response times. The ROGS report measures the time it takes for 50% of Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) ambulances to arrive at the scene of an emergency. It also looks at how quickly 90% of QAS ambulances are able to arrive at the scene of a life-threatening emergency incident.
In both cases, the ROGS report reviews code 1 emergency incidents, which are the most life-threatening situations. There are also code 2 emergency responses, indication an emergency that is not life threatening. In this case the Queensland Ambulance Service will not initiate a lights and siren response to the incident. Data for these code 2 response times is not so readily available.
Current statistics for code 1 responses for the Queensland Ambulance Service from 2020 to July 2021 are as follows:
The high demand experienced by the service throughout 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic should be taken into account when interpreting these figures released by the ROGS report.
There are also a myriad of general factors that could contribute to slower response times.
For example, did the emergency occur during a busy traffic time (i.e. rush hour/school pick-up time)? Where did the ambulance come from – an ambulance station or a hospital? Were there other emergencies taking priority at the same time? Was the location of the emergency difficult to get to?
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