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I waited 17 mins for ambulance as dad lay dying

THE crumbling HSE emergency ambulance service needs to be reviewed by a public inquiry, according to a spokesman for the ambulance and fire brigade personnel.

The use of emergency vehicles by HSE supervisors as 'company cars' should be banned as it is a "total breach of public sector guidelines", said John Kidd, chair of the Irish Fire and Emergency Service Association.

Mr Kidd was speaking after an RTE Prime Time programme exposed shocking ambulance response times and depleted resources.

It revealed how Dan Berry waited more than 17 minutes for an ambulance after suffering a heart attack despite his family home being just three minutes from Wexford General Hospital.

His son Dylan performed CPR while they waited, but by the time the ambulance arrived it was too late, Mr Berry had passed away

"If I had been told on the first phone call that the ambulance was coming from Enniscorthy, I think my whole pattern of thought that morning would have been different," Dylan Berry said.

"More likely, what I probably would have done was got my dad into the car and I would have been over to the hospital in three or four minutes. Less."

The programme also outlined how €100,000 vehicles were regularly used by managers during their working day.

"Supervisors taking Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) home with them is like the gardai going home in their squad cars," said Mr Kidd.

The vehicles in question are typically estate cars and SUV's that are kitted out with medical equipment, lights and sirens.

Mr Kidd said that the practice of emergency vehicles being used as transport for supervisors should be examined by Revenue to see if Benefit In Kind charges should apply.

Some of the 34 RRVs of the National Ambulance Service were seen by the RTE Investigations Unit parked up (inset above) for the full day at a management meeting in Naas.

The HSE told Prime Time that supervisors could use these vehicles to respond to emergencies if required.

"I'm calling for a public inquiry into how the service is run," Mr Kidd told the Herald today.

"If the HSE get their hands on the Dublin ambulance service lives could be lost," he stressed.

The HSE said in response to questions that a review is underway of all vehicles.

"The HSE's National Ambulance Service is currently carrying out a National Capacity Review which will include all vehicles and personnel," a spokeswoman told the Herald.

"The Ambulance Service is undergoing a significant reorganisation for the past year and the next number of years."