Requesting an ambulance

What type of ambulance response can I request?

There are four response levels for HCP bookings\requests:

8 minutes; This is a blue light response for situations where there is an immediate threat to life i.e.  Suspected Myocardial Infarction, Cardiac Arrest and Stroke.  The HCP Emergency Admission line is given the same priority as a 999 line and using this line will not delay any response.

20 minutes; this is a blue light response for patients who require emergency transport but their condition does not pose an immediate threat to life but is serious e.g. difficulty breathing, fall with lower limb fracture.  The HCP Emergency Admission line is given the same priority as a 999 line and using this line will not delay any response.

1 to 4 hours; this is a non-blue light response to  arrive within a pre-defined timescale.  Examples include minor injury or illness, admissions to hospital within 1-4 hours, transfers within 1-4 hours.  

4 hours+; a routine booking is a request for ‘same day’ transport for a patient, at any time during that day for routine admission (e.g.  Oxygen therapy, stretcher bound or chair bound patients).   Discharges of patients from healthcare settings, some routine transfers, social transport and outpatient appointment transports are normally provided through specific Patient Transport Service (PTS) contracts – you should contact your local provider if your patient meets these criteria before ringing us. 

The dedicated HCP lines should be used for all HCP admissions within the HCP's hours of work. When the HCP is not on duty and encounters an emergency they should utilise the 999 call route and not the HCP line.

An A4 poster is available to highlight the different types of emergency and urgent responses that can be requested from the ambulance trust.  Alternatively, please download a copy by clicking on the link or requesting a copy from

What telephone number should I use?
The following telephone numbers are dedicated lines for HCP requests and should be used when contacting your local Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for an ambulance:

Cheshire & Merseyside Area:
Emergency Admission - 0151 261 4301

Admission within a specified time (1-4 hours) - 0151 261 4322

Routine Admission & Booking Enquiries - 0151 261 4361

Cumbria & Lancashire:

Emergency Admission - 01772 867701

Admission within a specified time (1-4 hours) - 01772 867721

Routine Admission & Booking Enquiries - 01772 867761

Greater Manchester:

Emergency Admission - 0161 866 0611

Admission within a specified time (1-4 hours) - 0161 866 0622

Routine Admission & Booking Enquiries - 0161 866 0661

Ambulance requests should only be made where there is a clear medical need for transport.  If the patient could be transported by other means (e.g. relative, taxi) or is able to make their own way then please consider this. 

Ambulance requests should be made when the patient is at the location and is ready to travel.  Once ready, please ensure you have sufficient information about the patient and their condition to make the booking process easy. 

Who is authorised to make ambulance bookings?

Authorised to make ambulance bookingsUnauthorised to make ambulance bookings

Approved Mental Health Professional



Care Assistants

Nurse / Health Visitor

General Public


Care Homes (without registered HCP)





Hospital Bed Bureau


NHS Direct


Walk-in-Centres/Minor Injuries Units


Nursing Homes (Nurse on site)


There have been occasions when a patient has been assessed by a HCP over the phone (and occasionally, face to face) the patient has been instructed to book transport for an admission to a ward or unit themselves. Bookings for HCP admissions within a specified time (1-4 hours) should be made by a HCP and NOT the patient. All patients who self-call for an ambulance will be processed through the 999 call system, which means they may not get the correct service they require and could tie up a 999 ambulance unnecessarily. 

Requests for an emergency admission following a HCP face to face assessment, should be made by the HCP.  An exception to this would be when a patient has been assessed by a HCP over the phone and has been diagnosed with a life threatening condition, such as cardiac chest pain or other emergency.  In these situations, it is more appropriate for the patient to invoke emergency calling procedures via 999. 

When is the best time to book?

You should book as soon as the patient is ready to travel, at the earliest opportunity with an appropriate timescale.  We are busiest (in relation to HCP bookings) on a Monday and Friday afternoon.  We would recommend after midnight for the following day booking or as soon as possible after 0800 hours for bookings later in the morning or afternoon.

If your patient has special requirements (e.g. bariatric) please provide us with as much notice as possible as we may need to make special arrangements to facilitate their admission, both vehicular and at the receiving unit. 

When a request for an admission within a specified time is made by a HCP, for example, an admission within 2 hours, an ambulance may be allocated at any point within this timeframe.  There have been occasions, where an ambulance has arrived at the location only to find the patient is still making their own way home from the Surgery/Clinic.  This is an obvious waste of an extremely valuable resource and an incident review will be conducted for all such cases.

What information is required?

When requesting an ambulance, please introduce yourself and where you are calling from.  You will be asked the following questions:

  • Phone number of authorising HCP
  • Address to pick up the patient
  • Reason for admission(critical conditions may be identified at this point)
  • Patient's age/gender
  • Conscious and breathing status of patient
  • If the HCP is with the patient
  • If the condition presents an immediate threat to life (If yes, is there a defibrillator available?)
  • The timescale required for admission (e.g. <4 hours)
  • If a Patient Transport Service (transport only) response is appropriate
  • If the patient can travel with other patients
  • Mobility level (e.g. wheelchair, walking, stretcher)
  • Escorts travelling with the patient (e.g. nurse)
  • Destination hospital/unit
  • Patient's name
  • Patient's contact number

Please consider the level of care required by your patient for the journey.  There are different tiers of ambulances available for your patient's journey.  Tying up emergency ambulances unnecessarily will prevent those who require this level of service from receiving it.  It may often be quicker to consider a non-emergency ambulance as the emergency resource may be diverted to a more urgent case. 



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