Single responder (SR) systems have been implemented in several countries. When the very first SR system in Sweden was planned, it was criticised because of concerns about sending single emergency nurses out on alerts. In the present study, the first Swedish SR unit was studied in order to register waiting times and assess the working environment.
Quantitative data were collected from the ambulance dispatch register. Data on the working environment were collected using a questionnaire sent to the SR staff.
The SR system reduced the average patient waiting time from 26 to 13min. It also reduced the number of ambulance transports by 35% following triage of patient(s) priority determined by the SR. The staff perceived the working environment to be adequate.
The SR unit was successful in that it reduced waiting times to prehospital health care. Contrary to expectations, it proved to be an adequate working environment. There is good reason to believe that SR systems will spread throughout the country. In order to enhance in depth the statistical analysis, additional should be collected over a longer time period and from more than one SR unit.