National Performance

Measuring Patient Outcomes: Clinical Quality Indicators

From April 2011, Ambulance Trusts began to assess their performance in a new way.

eeast-12346562643_69be15db61_oThe Category B, 19-minute response time target for ambulances (serious but not immediately life-threatening) was replaced with a set of 11 new Clinical Quality Indicators, the aim being to improve the quality and safety of care by focusing on those groups of patients with the greatest clinical need – rather than according to the categorisation of call alone.

View the latest Performance Data here.

Ambulance Services are still required to respond to 75% of all category A (immediately life-threatening) patients within 8 minutes and, where needed, to provide transport to these calls within 19 minutes.

The Clinical Quality Indicators were designed with the aim of promoting a culture of continuous improvement involving clinicians, managers and commissioners.

The list of 11 ambulance indicators is as follows:
  1. Outcome from acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
  2. Outcome from cardiac arrest – return of spontaneous circulation
  3. Outcome from cardiac arrest – survival to discharge
  4. Outcome following stroke for ambulance patients
  5. Proportion of calls closed with telephone advice or managed without transport to A and E (where clinically appropriate)
  6. Re-contact rate following discharge of care (i.e. closure with telephone advice or following treatment at the scene)
  7. Call abandonment rate
  8. Time to answer calls
  9. Service Experience
  10. Category ‘A’ 8 minute response time
  11. Time to treatment by an ambulance-dispatched health professional

swasft_0016In addition, Ambulance Trusts continue to be monitored against the 19 minute transportation standard for Category A calls.


These 11 Clinical Quality Indicators form the basis of a national tool for measuring the effectiveness of the NHS Ambulance Service as a whole, called National Clinical Dashboards.