Woman who died while waiting 45 minutes on ambulance named as Jody Keenan from Newry area

A Serious Incident Review is to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a woman in Newry who died while waiting for an ambulance.

She was 39-year-old teaching assistant Jody Keenan from the Newry area. She collapsed after a night out with friends and could not be resuscitated.

Her friends called 999 and were told that there would be a delay in getting an ambulance to the scene.

It is believed her mother helped to administer CPR to Jody while waiting on emergency services to arrive.

Her funeral is to take place on Wednesday.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has apologised to Jody's family and friends for the response and announced the major review on Monday afternoon.

UTV spoke to Jody's cousin Aoife Finnegan who said the family were 'shocked and devastated' by the loss, particularly in such circumstances.

She added that they've been left struggling to come to terms with something they can hardly believe has happened, and that Jody is being remembered by all who knew her as "just the loveliest person, one of the best".

In a tribute, St Paul's High School where Jody was a teaching assistant, described her as 'an esteemed colleague'.

On Monday afternoon, NIAS confirmed that ambulances from Belfast and Banbridge were dispatched to Newry.

The vehicle from Banbridge arrived at 04:03, 48 minutes after the 999 call was made. The ambulance from Belfast arrived at 04:15.

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."

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."