The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has confirmed that it had to operate a reduced level of cover on Saturday night because of staff shortages.
The service said it had a shortage of 24 staff – 12 ambulance crews – which could lead to delays for “less serious calls”.
It said it would seek support from voluntary and private ambulance crews. “This will enable NIAS crews to respond to the life-threatening and more serious calls,” a spokesman said.
They said the shortage was due to a number of factors, including rostered leave, sickness, vacant shifts and cancelled overtime.
The service said it expected eight crews to be provided by voluntary and private ambulances.
The statement said that the impact of the shortage will be felt mostly by those patients whose situation is not immediately or potentially life threatening.
“We will seek to respond to all calls received but delays may be experienced for those less serious calls,” it added.