Improving the service journey of an ambulance

The NHS has an 8-minute target to reach calls from critical patients. Reaching this target has both a human and a financial impact but emergency vehicles are limited by shared roads with other vehicles.

To identify potential areas of innovation, we undertook a qualitative research process: desk research, ethnography and interviews with different staff across the service (managers, call takers, dispatchers, paramedics). This included developing methods to observe the behaviour of traffic around ambulances at junctions to determine the impact of a green wave of traffic lights ahead of the ambulance’s arrival.

"You always think about how you're driving: the traffic, the weather, the road conditions... It's automatic: the training kicks in and it's in the back of your mind. In the front of your mind, you keep the patient: I'm going to a cardiac arrest so I need to get there quickly. What kit will I take in and how will I deal with the patient?"

Specialist paramedic

The research findings were analysed, synthesised into insights and delivered through a workshop with our project partners. The findings are captured in the Research Handbook.


Researchers: Anja Maerz & Belen Palacios
Filmmaker: Christian Schmeer
Illustrator: Felipe Caro
Project by: Future Cities Catapult with Red Ninja, Transport Systems Catapult and Dynniq