Ambulance Response Programme

Earlier this year, NHS England announced new ambulance service standards as part of the Ambulance Response Programme (ARP). We went live with the new standards in the North West on Monday 7 August 2017.


A targeted training programme for our dispatchers, clinicians and managers in emergency operation centres ensured staff were prepared to effectively implement the programme.

The new standards are designed to change the rules so that ambulance service targets are met by doing the right thing for the patient.


Under previous targets, life-threatening and emergency calls should have been responded to in eight minutes, which meant we often sent more than one vehicle to have the best chance of meeting the eight minute target.


By changing this target to focus on sending the right response, more vehicles and staff will be free to get to emergencies.


Now, for a stroke patient for example, we will be able to send an ambulance to take them to hospital, when previously a rapid response vehicle arriving would ‘stop the clock’, despite it not being able to take the patient to hospital.


Ambulance service demand has increased by about 6% year on year. The new system enables ambulance services to be much more stable and able to deal with unexpected events and peaks in demand. ARP will make sure the best, most appropriate response is provided to patients, first time.


The aim of the ARP programme is to improve patient care and survival. ARP is the result of the largest study of an ambulance system ever completed, anywhere in the world.  More than 14 million ambulance calls were monitored as part of a trial, with no patient safety concerns.


The resdesigned system is strongly endorsed by expert organisations such as the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Stroke Association, and the College of Paramedics.

More information on the new standards can be found at