How we respond to 999 calls

Every time we receive a 999 call, the staff working in our emergency operations centres record information about the nature of the patient’s illness or injury to make sure that the right kind of medical help is sent to them.

Our call-handlers use sophisticated software which enables them to put the call into a particular category, depending on how urgent the problem is.

Calls are divided into categories:  Red 1 (immediately life-threatening), Red 2 (serious but not immediately life-threatening) or Green 1-4 (less serious or minor illness or injury).

Health and Emergency Operations Centre Staff Member


Triaging 999 calls: the clinical support desk

Ambulance services are called by more people than ever, clinical excellence and quality is at the forefront of emergency care like never before and patients expect different responses and treatment depending on their needs. Our triage system takes patients through the right health care options for them so that unnecessary admissions to hospital are avoided.

In our control rooms, clinical support desks (CSD) help triage 999 calls which, through obtaining more detailed information about the problem, can help get a more appropriate response to the patient, including advice over the phone by a trained clinician working for the ambulance service, referral to their GP, pharmacist, or local walk-in centre, or an ambulance response if it is decided one is needed. 

Clinical quality indicators

Ambulance services in England are measured on their performance against 11 clinical quality indicators.  These give a detailed view of the care that patients receive.  View the Clinical quality indicators here.


Related pages

East of England Ambulance Headquarters
Whiting Way
Sat Nav postcode SG8 6NA