The number of ambulances needed during daytime hours on working days in the Netherlands is set to remain roughly the same. In 2024, 693 ambulances will be required to properly meet the demand for ambulance care. This is the outcome of annual calculations performed by RIVM. On the other hand, more ambulances will be needed in the evening, at night and at the weekend.

RIVM also calculated how many eight-hour ambulance shifts will be needed in 2024. The outcome was 10,251 shifts for the whole of the Netherlands for an entire week. This represents a rise of 147 compared to 2023.

Increase in number of urgent call-outs

The calculations also showed a significant increase in the number of urgent ambulance call-outs (+8.4%) compared to last year. This is greater than the average increase seen in the last few years. At the same time, there was a decrease in the average duration of these call-outs. Unlike the number of urgent call-outs, the number of non-urgent call-outs fell last year (-1,5%). In preceding years, the number of non-urgent call-outs remained the same. 

About this study

RIVM calculates the number of ambulances in the Netherlands using the ‘reference framework for the distribution and availability of ambulance care’. This model is based on a number of key principles for Dutch ambulance care. One of these concerns the response time within which an ambulance must arrive on site after a call has come in. The model estimates the required number of ambulances based on the number of ambulance call-outs and their duration in the previous year. 

RIVM performed this calculation on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The Ministry, Ambulancezorg Nederland (AZN) and the umbrella organisation for care insurers in the Netherlands, Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (ZN), have adopted this recommendation. The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) uses the outcomes of its own calculation model to determine regional healthcare procurement budgets.