'No patient risk' after 999 fault

Ambulance - generic
Image caption The technical failure saw calls diverted to the north of England and Belfast

No patient was put at risk as a result of a failure in the phone system at Scotland's ambulance service, the health secretary has said.

Nicola Sturgeon said back-up systems coped with the incident, on 21 July, in which no 999 calls were received by three call centres for some hours.

But she told MSPs that changes had been put in place to avoid any repetition.

The failure of the BT system saw callers diverted to Belfast and the north of England.

Commenting on the incident, Ms Sturgeon told parliament: "Detailed investigations by the ambulance service remain on-going, but I hope members are assured the difficulties experienced by the service are being responded to with the thoroughness they deserve."

Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie demanded further reassurance and complained the problems were only now being disclosed to parliament for the first time.

On the date in question, the phone fault first affected the Inverness call centre at 0100 BST, hitting Edinburgh at 0942 BST and resulted in Glasgow only able to receive a limited number of calls from 0956 BST.

Following action, all three centres were fully operational again by 1530 BST.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said at the time that calls were answered and patients were unaffected.

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