Calls for meeting to discuss NI ambulance crisis

There are calls for an urgent meeting with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to discuss staff shortages and the impact on the provision of emergency cover.

It comes after ambulance crews from the Republic were drafted into Northern Ireland over the weekend to assist.

The North's Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, Councillor Sandra Duffy claims staff shortages in the Northern Ireland ambulance service resulted in up to 20 crews being unavailable over the weekend.

She says this is extremely concerning.

On Saturday, one ambulance crew from the Republic was based at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

While on Friday, another crew had to be based at Newry Ambulance Station.

There is an understanding in place that both services will help each other out in special circumstances.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service says they also had to use 8 private and voluntary ambulances to deal with non life threatening cases over the weekend.

Councillor Duffy says while it is welcome that other options have been explored such as all-Ireland cooperation between the two services, it is clear a longer term solution is required.