How to request an ambulance

to take a patient to hospital, or transfer them to another hospital site (inter-facility transfer)

This guide is designed to make it quicker and easier for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to request an ambulance for patients who need urgent or emergency transportation to hospital or between hospital sites.  

For ease, we have introduced a single, dedicated telephone line for healthcare professionals to use: 0345 140 0144.




During the call, you will be asked clinical questions about the patient’s condition. In a life-threatening situation or an emergency request, the attending clinician must make the call to ensure accurate information is provided. Where delegation is unavoidable, the individual making the request for support must be able to answer basic triage questions about the patient’s condition.

When you book transport, a clinician from our Clinical Hub may get back in touch with you for further assessment to ensure the right response is sent to the patient.

Requests must be based on patient clinical need and not based on other issues such as capacity/flow challenges or availability for hospital staff escorts.

Emergency ambulance transport cannot be booked for repatriations or step-down transfers/discharges to non-hospital facilities and outpatient appointments. Please consider whether your patient could travel in locally arranged private transport or may be eligible for the Patient Transport Service.

Booking checklist

Before calling, please consider whether your patient could make their own way to hospital or may be eligible for the Patient Transport Service.

If not, please ensure the patient is ready to travel and that you have the following information:

  • NEWS2 *
  • Summary of patient’s condition
  • Name of authorising HCP
  • Contact details of authorising HCP
  • Location the patient needs collecting from
  • Destination (inc. ward/clinic)
  • Patient’s full name
  • Patient’s NHS number
  • Patient’s mobility (walking /wheelchair/ stretcher / incubator – including type)
  • Provide details of any patient infections
  • Advise if there are any family or clinical escorts
  • If the patient requires medication en route, is it ready to transport?
  • Could the patient travel with others as part of a multi-occupancy transfer?
  • Probability of clinical deterioration
  • Special requirements/ instructions
  • Anything else you think we need to know

The booking checklist and a quick guide is available to download and print in the ‘related downloads’ box to the right of this page.

*The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) should be used to help your decision making, but is not to replace clinical judgement. It can be viewed below.

Reproduced from: Royal College of Physicians. National Early Warning Score (NEWS) 2: Standardising the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS. Updated report of a working party. London: RCP, 2017.