THE Ambulance Service of New South Wales has returned fire at the Health Services Union, dismissing claims new rosters for paramedics are putting Northern Rivers lives at risk.
The HSU issued a press release on Thursday that said there were incidents on Monday at Murwillumbah and Byron Bay where there were no paramedics to respond.
But the Ambulance Service dismissed claims rostering was the cause, saying standard procedure was followed.
"In Murwillumbah, two ambulances were called to the address," an Ambulance spokesman said.
"When the first ambulance arrived, the second ambulance which was in transit was immediately notified and called off."
The spokesman said HSU claims the patient was transported in an unmarked Toyota Tarago were false.
"The patient was transported to Murwillumbah district hospital in a stable condition in a highly visible, clearly identifiable marked ambulance vehicle with sirens and beacons."
The spokesman said when the service received a call at 9.54pm to assist a patient in Byron Bay, all local crews were busy so the closest available paramedics were immediately assigned.
"A Mullumbimby paramedic crew became available at Byron Bay Hospital at 10.48pm and were immediately assigned to the incident, arriving one minute later."
HSU North Coast sub-branch secretary Wayne Lewry predicted the worst was yet to come.
"The situation won't improve until the service takes real action to address the critical staff shortages," he said.