Ambulances are for emergencies: shifting attitudes through a research-informed behaviour change campaign

Kim Borg, Breanna Wright, Liz Sannen, David Dumas, Tony Walker, Peter Bragge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In Victoria, Australia, emergency calls requesting an ambulance have been increasing at a rate higher than population growth. While most of these calls are for genuine emergencies, many do not require an immediate ambulance response. A collaborative research approach was undertaken to address this issue. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the effectiveness of applying a behaviour change approach to this challenge by first addressing antecedents of behaviour (attitudes, awareness and knowledge). Methods: The project included a formative research phase to inform the design of a mass media campaign and subsequent evaluation of the campaign. Results: Results indicated that the campaign was successful in increasing community attitudes towards ambulances as being for emergencies only, particularly among those familiar with the campaign material and with other health service options (such as telephone advice lines). Conclusions: These findings provide support for adopting the Forum approach to increase the chances that a mass media campaign will achieve its stated objectives. Recommendations for future campaign activities are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019


  • Ambulance
  • attitudes
  • behaviour change
  • emergency service
  • mass media

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