IRELAND'S ambulance drivers' union NASRA says it has received reports from its Kerry members revealing that basically equipped Rapid Response Vehicle's were deployed instead of fully furnished ambulances in Tralee on Monday.
The head of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, Tony Gregg, said government health spending cuts are leading to situations where RRVs are being used instead of ambulances when staffing issues arise.
Mr Gregg was responding to reports which claimed that, because of staffing issues, Tralee's ambulance service was reduced to a single ambulance on Monday and that an RRV was used to provide cover for patients.
It was also reported that no ambulance was available in the Listowel area on Monday.
RRVs are small vehicles, staffed by a single paramedic, which are designed to provide a basic support service for full ambulance teams. They are not equipped with stretchers and cannot bring patients to hospital.
The HSE has not yet responded to the claims made by NASRA.