London Ambulance Service
Computer Aided Despatch System

NOTE: the location of this page has been changed. Please change your bookmarks and links.

This web page has been developed by Anthony Finkelstein at University College London. It gives you access to the Report of the Inquiry Into the London Ambulance Service which examines the failure of the London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Despatch System (and its procurement) in October 1992.

We would like to thank the Communications Directorate of South West Thames Regional Health Authority for permission to scan and distribute this document electronically. The original printed version is available as ISBN 0-905133-70-6.

The electronic version available here includes scanned images, 347K (This document is in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You need a public domain Adobe Acrobat Reader).

If you want a copy provided in a text form suitable for extracting elements or preparing teaching material please contact Anthony Finkelstein giving reasons why this is required.

The following paper is also available:

Finkelstein, A. & Dowell, J. "A Comedy of Errors: the London Ambulance Service case study" in Proc. 8th International Workshop on Software Specification & Design IWSSD-8, (IEEE CS Press), 1996, 2-4.

You may wish to visit The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust Home Page which provides additional details on current developments.

They include some useful progress reports:

Operation Mayflower

Call Taking Computer System

Replacement 999 Telephone System

An interesting article on current state of the LAS CAD Development can be obtained Tighe, I. "All Systems Go!" in The Computer Bulletin, 8, 4, 20-21.

Some links to articles in the Risks bulletin relating to the LAS-CAD failure. Note that these are prior to the issue of the Inquiry report and based on press reports so are not wholly accurate:

London Ambulance Fiasco. 29-Oct-92

Ambulance chief quits after patients die in computer crash. 29-Oct-92

Software failure "may be behind ambulance crisis." 30-Oct-92

London Ambulance Service computer fails again. 05-Nov-92

London Ambulance Dispatch Computer. 05-Nov-92

London Ambulance Service Inquiry Report (long). 24-Mar-93

Ambulance Dispatch System A similar case from Melbourne, Australia