The Ambulance Service has said it will review its resources at large-scale events in Derry following a lack of emergency cover on St Patrick’s Day.

The Ambulance Service said that it is normal for them to have three ambulance crews operating in the Derry area each day.

This drops to two at night-time during the week, and is usually increased to three on Friday and Saturday night.
 
Spokesman for Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) John McPoland said that there was usually a large increase in cover for major events in Derry such as Halloween and New Year’s Eve, but that this has not been the case for St Patrick’s Day this year.

He was speaking after NIAS was forced to apologise this week for delays in its response to 999 calls, sparked by a member of staff taking sick and no coverage was available. 

Only one ambulance was on duty in Derry on St Patrick's night despite thousands of revellers gathering to celebrate the annual holiday.

Neighbouring ambulance station unit staff had to be called in to cover emergency call-outs, with one drunk patient waiting an hour.

A total of 34 emergency calls were received in Derry over the 12 hours from 8pm on St Patrick’s Day, but ten of the calls were cancelled.

Mr Poland said however: “Obviously we will have a look at it in terms of our coverage for next year.

“We will always try and get cover but we cannot always guarantee it.”

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