The ethics of ambulance ramping

Matt Perry, Drew Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Ramping is the practice of requiring paramedics to continue to care for patients rather than hand over clinical responsibility to the ED. It arose as an alternative to admitting patients to EDs that are deemed to be already operating at or beyond capacity. This paper analyses the ethics of ramping. Ramping has been embraced by some ED practitioners and policymakers as a solution to the problem of ED patients suffering increased risks of harm as a result of waiting times within ED. However, this perspective fails to adequately consider the implications, especially the opportunity cost of requiring paramedics to remain at the hospital rather than make themselves available for other patients. From this perspective, ramping negatively impacts the wider provision of emergency medical services, with potentially serious consequences for people's health. Advocates of ramping must consider people in the community who require a medical emergency response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-118
Number of pages3
JournalEmergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ambulance
  • emergency department
  • ethics
  • paramedic
  • ramping


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