Apology over ambulance shortage in Londonderry

Image caption Only one ambulance was on duty in Londonderry on Monday night

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) has apologised for delays in its response to 999 calls in Londonderry due to staff shortages on Monday night.

Only one ambulance was on duty in the city on St Patrick's night.

Staff from nearby stations had to be called in to help cover emergency call-outs.

NIAS spokesman John McPoland said: "The longest delay was around an hour and that was for an intoxicated patient."

The ambulance service received 34 emergency calls in Derry city between 20:00 GMT on Monday night and 08:00 GMT on Tuesday morning.

Twenty-four of those calls received an ambulance response. The other 10 were cancelled.

"A member of staff took sick and the shift was unable to be covered," said Mr McPoland.

"We apologise to any patient who may have suffered a delay in response to their 999 call.

"We are always concerned when we can't provide the cover we want to, but we couldn't do anything about it."

Mr McPoland said there were usually two ambulances on duty in Derry on a Monday evening.

"No-one would argue that resources are always an issue," he added.