Queensland Ambulance Service Response Times

When Every Second Counts

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.

Measuring Queensland Ambulance Service Response Times

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.

Code 1 Queensland Ambulance Service Response Times

Current statistics for code 1 responses for the Queensland Ambulance Service from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012 are as follows:

  • 50% of QAS ambulances will arrive within 8.1 minutes
  • 90% of QAS ambulances will arrive within 16.4 minutes

These figures released by the ROGS report indicate much need for improvement within the Queensland Ambulance Service. Though it is hard to identify the specific factors contributing to slower response times, it is important however, to analyse certain cases.

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? Where there other emergencies taking priority at the same time? Was the location of the emergency difficult to get to?

Whatever the case may be (code 1 or code 2) it is absolutely critical that the Queensland Ambulance Service – and other state ambulance services – work hard to improve ambulance response times.

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