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NIAS release statement | “Even the most urgent calls may now face delays”

Northern Ireland’s health service is coming under immense pressure this evening as the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is experiencing difficulties in responding to emergency cases.

In a statement the NIAS explained that busy Emergency Departments are contributing to ambulance turnaround times when taking patients to hospital for admittance.

A spokesperson for the NIAS said:

“The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is experiencing unprecedented pressure due to the number of staff unable to attend work as a result of Covid-19 and our ability to respond due to pressures at Emergency Departments, resulting in delayed turnaround times for ambulances.

“NIAS always priorities calls to ensure that the most clinically urgent calls receive the fastest response with delays for those whose clinical needs are less urgent.

“However, the situation currently is that even the most urgent calls may now face


“We would take this opportunity to apologise to patients and carers who may endure lengthy delays while we strive to provide as good a service as we can in the circumstances prevailing across the HSC system.

“NIAS would ask anyone who can make their own way to Emergency Departments to so do, instead of calling 999 in the first instance.

“However, in life-threatening situations 999 should be used immediately.”

The NIAS also moved to address what it said where ‘rumours currently circulating’, stating, “the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has NOT erected tents at any hospital sites to deal with patients.”


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