Woman dies in Newry while waiting for ambulance from Belfast

Ambulance gerneric. Presseye
The NIAS said "levels of ambulance cover fell below those which had been planned and anticipated".

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has apologised to the family and friends of a woman who died waiting for an ambulance.

The patient, believed to be in her 30s, passed away in Newry in the early hours of Sunday (April 10) while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance which was dispatched from Belfast, the ambulance service confirmed.

The ambulance arrived around 45 minutes after the woman collapsed while she was out with her friends.

A NIAS spokesperson said: "NIAS regrets that, on the evening of Saturday 9 April, levels of ambulance cover fell below those which had been planned and anticipated, with the Southern Division particularly impacted.

"The planned level of resource in Southern Division on Saturday night is 10. On Saturday night only three crews were available at the commencement of the shift and this was further depleted by one due to onset of illness.

"Both remaining crews were not available to respond as they were waiting to handover patients at Craigavon emergency department.

"As NIAS manages the service on a regional basis with the closest available ambulance responding to the next most clinically urgent call, crews from other divisions will have responded to calls in the Southern division."

It has been reported that the woman had been out with friends and collapsed as she walked home.

The spokesperson added: "NIAS had three A&E support crews and one Independent ambulance crew available to complement the emergency crews.

"A&E support and independent crews are dispatched to lower acuity calls to protect the A&E resource for the most serious and urgent waiting calls.

"NIAS would further apologise to all patients and their carers for any delays experienced as a result of reduced cover."