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Northern Ireland Ambulance Service's 999 phone system is restored

Published 14/08/2015

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service phone system in the emergency control centre has been restored after a fault.

NIAS was earlier forced to implement contingency plans whereby BT diverted 999 calls to dedicated mobile phones held within ambulance control or alternatively to Scottish Ambulance Service.

An NIAS statements said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is pleased to report that the phone system in ambulance control is now functional. The system has been re-booted and monitored for a period of time to ensure full functionality.

"Calls are now being received in the normal way.  The Trust would like to thank all those who shared our messages on social and broadcast media but special thanks must go to the staff in the Control centre, including those in Scottish Ambulance Service, who worked through the contingency arrangements to ensure that anyone needing help received an ambulance response."

NIAS said that BT will continue to monitor the system over the weekend and further diagnostics will  be performed to identify reasons for the fault.

Health spokesperson for the Ulster Unionist party Jo-Anne Dobson has called for an urgent review of the systems and protocols in place.

The MLA said: "I am deeply concerned to hear that a fault occurred causing calls to the 999 service to be diverted. The immediate focus is on the reinstatement of normal service, but after that we need an urgent investigation into how this happened and where the failure occurred.

“This is a critical service and it is up to the Health Minister to get across this as a matter of urgency to stop it happening again. Urgent answers are needed as lives could be put at risk.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service, Liam McIvor, asking for an update on the service protocols and any third party contract which exists given the life-critical nature of the 999 service.”

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