Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 13:52 UK

300,000 miles on ambulance clock

One third of ambulances in Northern Ireland breach guidelines

A 999 ambulance on duty in Dungannon has more than 300,000 miles on the clock, it has been revealed.

The vehicle is in breach of guidelines from an advisory group, which says they should be replaced after five years.

Nine other areas, including Limavady and Enniskillen, had ambulances with mileages over 200,000.

A spokesman from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said the situation was "less than ideal", but had to be considered in context.

"In 2007/08 NIAS responded to 111,000 emergency calls which was an increase of 8% on 2006/07.

"NIAS also improved its response performance by reaching 69% of immediately life threatening calls within the eight minute target in February 2008," said the spokesman.

The figures obtained by South Down MLA Jim Wells showed more than a third of emergency NI ambulances are too old.

He said the situation was unacceptable.

"This information raises serious questions about the capacity of our ambulance fleet to respond to emergencies such as road accidents or house fires in a satisfactory and speedy manner," said Mr Wells.

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