When I look for ambulance and how fast it should come, I find information regarding allowed driving speed.

However, for planning hospitals and roads, one should no how much time is on average required to reach a hospital. Depending on the region and the roads it can be quite different than approximating from the actual distance like in this contribution.

Are there any norms on that, or laws, or regulations? How does this compare internationally?

  • 1
    I'm unaware of any country that has separate standards for children. I can't imagine how that would even be possible unless you created a network of ambulances dedicated to children only, which would be a very expensive, very inefficient system.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 20:14
  • I think this question might fit better under the Law SE site.
    – Bob Ortiz
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 0:09
  • 1
    @BobOrtiz Actually, I don't think so. Standards like this are almost never actual laws but rather regulatory agency guidelines. In the US, the only national standard I'm aware of is established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA, nfpa.org), which isn't even a government agency and has no regulatory authority. There may be some state guidelines embodied in law, but if there are they're few in number. It's really difficult to mandate response times.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


The UK national standard sets out that all ambulance trusts must respond to:

  • Category 1 calls (life-threatening injuries and illnesses) in 7 minutes on average.

  • Category 2 calls (other emergency) in 18 minutes on average.

  • Category 3 calls (urgent) in at least 9 out of 10 times before 120 minutes.

  • Category 4 calls (less urgent) at least 9 out of 10 times before 180 minutes.

    In some instances you may be given advice over the telephone or referred to another service such as a GP or pharmacist.

For more on this and how calls are categorized, you can download a free PDF from NHS England


In this report "Ambulance Care Europe" 1 in table 3.5 there is an emergency level and response times comparison between several EU countries. Showing a response time for emergencies in some countries at 5 minutes (Germany) in others 25 minutes (Norway, rural).

For example, in The Netherlands regulations state that an ambulance in case of emergency has to be at the scene within 15 minutes after the phone call in 95% of the cases. However, in 2001 only 91,8% actually managed that. The Dutch government is trying to pass a law that requires arrival within 8 minutes. Also, 60% of Dutch citizens live within a 5-kilometer range from a hospital others on average 10 kilometers.

In case of, (expected) CPR a private network of citizens in the area that can perform CPR and are volunteering in this network can also be alarmed by text to fetch a defibrillator in a specified public place near and bring it to the location, or go to a location directly and start CPR. Also, police or firefighters can be alarmed if the centralist thinks that the ambulance will be late. Out of experience, these volunteers often arrive faster because they are closer.

1 https://www.nivel.nl/sites/default/files/bestanden/Rapport_ambulance_care_europe.pdf

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