Falls Response Service

Falls represent the most serious and frequent type of accident for people aged over 65 in Cornwall.

- Each year, more than one in three people over the age of 65 have a fall.
- Falls incidents equate for around 10% of all emergency calls to the ambulance service.
- Each week, around 10 of these calls have a recorded response time in excess of 3 hours.

Falls Response Service

The Problem

Every minute, 6 people over the age of 65 will fall in the UK

Falls represents the most serious and frequent type of accident for people in this age group. Preventative programmes, including community lead balance and stability groups are a vital and important function within a falls prevention strategic approach.

Timely response to someone who has fallen is often the critical step which determines the longer term prospects and outcome for that person. 10% of ambulance call outs are to respond to falls, many of them non injurious, but to respond to the frailer person who is simply unable to get up unaided and has no one to help them.

Of all of the attendances, it is nationally estimated that 25% did not require an emergency paramedic response. Most emergency ambulance services have updated their clinical protocols to ensure full assessment is taken in the context of patients who have experienced a long lie, and often these patients will be conveyed to hospital for further investigations and tests; not because they injured themselves falling, but because they were on the floor for so long. With increasing pressures on the emergency ambulance service, the requirement for a dedicated service looking after the urgent care needs of people in Cornwall has never been more important. What happens in the initial hours following the fall is a critical part of the pathway which this service seeks to resolve.

A proportion of these conveyances would have been prevented had a response been available earlier.


The Cornwall Ambulance Service Falls Response Service provides the solution. This is delivered using response cars staffed by highly experienced pre-hospital care professionals to ensure the fallen person is the highest priority, and the service ensures high quality clinical support can be provided to people in their communities across the county.


Falls response service

Improved patient service

Reduction in harm, improved safety and quality

Reduction in avoidable conveyance to the Emergency Department

Contribute to achieving four hour standard waiting times by reducing admissions to the Emergency Department.

Reduction in avoidable unplanned admissions

Reduction in injury – on the basis that once patients start to fall the likelihood of sustaining an injury increases where the root cause of the fall has not been addressed.

Embedded proactive onward referral for patients who require follow up by the Falls Team or primary care review