Skip to content
Current waiting times (average) Emergency Dept. (A&E): 70 minutes Emergency Dept. (children): 0 minutes Learn more about our waiting times

Right Response First Time

We have launched the Right Response First Time campaign to highlight the different ways in which we respond to 999 calls.

RRFT Header Banner

We will always dispatch an ambulance to patients who need time-critical help in a serious or life-threatening emergency – here are some examples:

RRFT When should you call 999

However, we know that hospital isn’t always the most appropriate destination for patients who need less urgent help.

In 2017, only 73% of our patients who called 999 required hospital admission. When it is safe and appropriate to do so, our less serious calls can be dealt with at the scene (see, treat and refer) or over the phone (hear and treat) by our team of experts.

When you call 999 you will be put through to one of our Emergency Medical Dispatchers who will ask a series of questions to help identify the severity of the patient’s condition. The incident will be prioritised and the most appropriate response provided.

New national standards were introduced by NHS England in November 2017 following the largest clinical ambulance trial in the world. Calls now fit into the following categories which determine the speed and type of our response:

RRFT What happens when you call 999

Under the new system, call handlers in the Island’s 999 Emergency Operations Centre ask additional questions that can very quickly identify those patients who will be the highest priority; this allows an ambulance to be dispatched without delay. For other types of call, ambulance staff are given additional time to assess the needs of the patient more fully so that the right response can be sent first time. This has resulted in a more efficient use of ambulance resources.

It is well documented that the number of people attending emergency departments and calling 999 for an ambulance is growing each year. Choosing the right service best suited to your illness or injury reduces this pressure and helps to ensure that life threatening conditions are prioritised.

Please remember that if it is not a life-threatening emergency and the patient does not need immediate medical attention, there are other NHS options available:

When not to call 999

Support the campaign

Share the campaign on social media using #RightResponseFirstTime and download the graphic resources below:

Make a pledge to support the #RightResponseFirstTime campaign and use services in the right way by signing up on Facebook @MyNHSpledge.

My Health Pledge

Case studies

Click here to see some patient case studies which provide an insight into the complex variety of responses we provide to those who call 999 for our help. Please feel free to use these to illustrate the campaign.

Keep up to date with the latest news

Read the latest news from across all our services.

Subscribe to Trust Matters, our regular newsletter.

Tell Us Your Views

Please feedback to us about your experiences, along with how to raise any concerns, complaints or questions.