Ambulance journey distance related to patient survival

Research carried out in ScHARR, and published in the Emergency Medicine Journal, has found that the further seriously ill patients have to travel by ambulance to reach emergency care, the more likely they are to die. The findings are based on a review of life-threatening (category A) calls to four ambulance services in England, representing urban, rural, mixed, and remote areas, between 1997 and 2001. The researchers studied ambulance journey distances ranging from 0 to 58 km. Overall, 644 patients (just over six per cent) died, but the further patients had to travel by ambulance to hospital, the more likely they were to die. The findings show overall patients' risk of death rose by one per cent for every 10 kilometres (six miles) they had to travel. Patients most likely to be affected by distance travelled were those with severe breathing problems. Their chances of dying were 13% if the distance to hospital was between 10 and 20 km, and 20% if this was 20 or more kilometres.

University of Sheffield press release

BBC News report