|The London Ambulance Service Despatching System|
|SE 8 Web|
The London Ambulance Service introduced a new computer-aided despatch system in 1992 which was intended to automate the system that despatched ambulances in response to calls from the public and the emergency services. This new system was extremely inefficient and ambulance response times increased markedly. Shortly after its introduction, it failed completely and LAS reverted to the previous manual system. The systems failure was not just due to technical issues but to a failure to consider human and organisational factors in the design of the system.
Use in teachingI supplement the material in the book in a course I teach on critical systems with additional material focusing on security and human/organisational factors. I use this case study in a discussion of human factors as an illustration of how procurement, human and organisational issues can be major contributors to system failure.
Chapter 2: Socio-technical systems