How long it takes to get to an emergency varies a great deal – when a 999 call is made the call taker gives the emergency a category from 1-4. Category 1 calls are the most serious which means the patient is not breathing or their heart has stopped beating. The target is to get to these calls in under 8 minutes. However for less serious calls such as category 3 and 4 calls patients can wait a little while as more serious calls take priority. In some cases patients can end up waiting about an hour – but these patients are not normally seriously ill.