National

Ambulance response times fall to Japan's worst ever

Kyodo

The average time taken to transport a patient to a hospital by ambulance following an emergency call was 39 minutes and 24 seconds in 2014, the worst on record, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday.

The time was six seconds longer than the 2013 average, the agency said. The number of ambulance dispatches was a record 5.98 million in 2014, or roughly one every 5.3 seconds.

Ambulances carried 5.41 million people to hospitals in 2014, an increase of about 60,000, reflecting the aging of society and a rise in the number of people living alone, the agency said. Some 55.5 percent of those transported in ambulances were 65 or older.

By prefecture, the time was by far the longest in Tokyo, at 51 minutes and 48 seconds, followed by Saitama’s 45 minutes and 30 seconds. The shortest was 30 minutes and six seconds in Fukuoka.

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