Belfast Telegraph

Ambulance 999 response times hit by increased demand in Northern Ireland

A sustained period of increased demand means the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is being delayed in its response times to calls.

A spokesman said while the NIAS continues to prioritise the most serious calls and responds to the sickest patients, less serious emergencies are subject to significant delays.

The public is advised only to call 999 for an ambulance in the event of a serious medical emergency.

For less serious issues, people are advised to contact their own GP or local out-of-hours service in the first instance.

Individuals are also asked to consider alternative transport to the Emergency Department or Minor Injury Unit for lesser injuries and complaints.

The spokesman added: "We would take this opportunity to remind the public that arrival at an Emergency Department by Ambulance does not mean you will be seen or treated more quickly than self-presentation."

Last year a response to an Assembly question found in the 12 months to April 2016, the average response time to a category A call, where the situation was described as immediately life-threatening, was over 10 minutes - two minutes over the target time.

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