National Ambulance Service to provide help for NI colleagues this weekend

Irish paramedics are heading across the border this weekend to help their Northern Ireland colleagues.

It comes as the North's health service comes under severe pressure, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has confirmed help will be provided, but says services here will not be affected.

Queues of ambulances could be seen this week, lined up at accident and emergency departments across Northern Ireland, as patients were treated in car parks due to a lack of capacity inside.

The HSE says the republic's National Ambulance Service was contacted by their counterparts in Northern Ireland for assistance and several volunteer teams responded, agreeing to help in areas of Belfast, Craigavon and Lisburn across the weekend.

They say the support will not impact in any way on the National Ambulance Service's normal operations here.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service says it's very grateful for the dig out.

Chief executive Michael Bloomfield, says the move is 'relatively unusual' and reflects the pressure they're under.