Emergency medical services, also known as ambulance services or paramedic services, are a type of emergency service dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care, transport to definitive care, and other medical transport to patients with illnesses and injuries which prevent the patient from transporting themselves.
The goal of most emergency medical services is to either provide treatment to those in need of urgent medical care, with the goal of satisfactorily treating the presenting conditions, or arranging for timely removal of the patient to the next point of definitive care. This is most likely an emergency department at a hospital. The term emergency medical service evolved to reflect a change from a simple system of ambulances providing only transport, to a system in which preliminary medical care is given on scene and during transport.
In most places in the world, the EMS is summoned by members of the public (or other emergency services, businesses, or authorities) via an emergency telephone number which puts them in contact with a control facility, which will then dispatch a suitable resource to deal with the situation.