Emergency calls to England's ambulance services rose by 7 per cent last year, from 3.8 million to 4.1 million, according to figures released by the Department of Health. Almost 1 million of these came from London. The figures show that of the 20 services that have introduced call prioritisation, Staffordshire responded to 87 per cent of 'immediately life-threatening' calls within the target eight minutes, and 15 services reached at least 50 per cent of such calls in that time. Of the 12 services that do not have call prioritisation, five services reached 50 per cent of category A calls within eight minutes. Junior health minister Gisela Stuart urged the public to make more use of GP services and NHS Direct.

Ambulance Services, England, 1999-2000 . 0541-555 455.