Table 5

Relationship between descriptive themes and thematic groups

Receiving treatment for a complaint that the caller knows is minor or non-seriousNeeding and receiving treatment urgently
Receiving immediate, life-saving treatment for a condition the caller suspects is serious or life threatening
Skill set and capabilities of the ambulance staff providing treatment
Using the ambulance as a means of quick transport to hospital (when there is a medical need)The transport role of the ambulance service
Using the ambulance as a ‘convenient’ mechanism of transport to hospital (with or without medical need)
The impact of rurality and geographic remoteness on the care available when neededRurality and remoteness and the impact on receiving ambulance care
The impact or rurality and geographic remoteness on personal expectations and choices about accessing care
Patient uncertainty about the seriousness of their health conditions and whether there is urgent medical needUncertainty about own health and the choice for ambulance care
Patient uncertainty about how to access the most appropriate healthcare service
Patient uncertainty about the impact of their actions on others
Uncertainty about making a decision on behalf of someone else (relative or friend)
Need for personal reassurance that there is no underlying serious health problemsReassurance about the absence of serious health problems
Need for reassurance that there is a legitimate need to access ambulance care
Providing information to medical professionals to allow them to make appropriate decisionsTaking or handing over control of the situation
Taking decisive action to manage an intolerable circumstance
Compassion provided by ambulance staff (in comparison to other healthcare groups)Experience of compassion during contact with the ambulance service
Compassion of friends and relatives in times of illness when calling an ambulance
Influence of others (friends and relatives) when asked for their opinionBeing influenced by the opinions and experience of others about ambulance care
Influence of others (friends and relatives) through their perceived opinions, even though the person may not present or directly consulted
The need to take responsibility for one's own healthcareTaking responsibility and being empowered to manage one's urgent health needs
The need to take responsibility for the healthcare of another (friend or relative)
Empowerment to manage own healthcare
Empowerment to access ambulance care appropriately