Ambulance utilization in Sweden: analysis of emergency ambulance missions in urban and rural areas

Annals of Emergency Medicine
B BrismarJ Larsson


Data concerning ambulance utilization in a rural and an urban region were registered in a computer. In both regions approximately 30% of missions were emergencies. In the urban area, 20% of the emergency missions were due to trauma, compared with 10% in the rural area (P less than .01). The major symptoms were unconsciousness (34%) and shortness of breath (24%) in the rural region, while in the urban region pain (32%) was the dominating symptom. The response time in emergency missions, used as a measure of the service level of the emergency medical system, was shorter in the urban area than in the rural area (P less than .01): less than 15 minutes in 93% of emergencies in the urban area (mean time, 8.1 minutes) and in 78% of emergencies in the rural area (mean time, 10.2 minutes). Ambulance utilization was higher (P less than .01) in the urban region (0.37 missions/ambulance/hour) than in the rural region (0.22 missions/ambulance/hour). The study indicates that there are great differences between urban and rural areas with respect to the incidence and character of ambulance missions. This difference must be considered when analyzing the cost effectiveness of emergency medical services.


Dec 1, 1979·Social Science & Medicine. Medical Geography·P M Williams, G Shavlik

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