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Internal investigation after motorcycle paramedics told to provide 50km escort for bride-to-be

A Siptu union organiser said such deployment of resources was “totally unacceptable”.

THE NATIONAL AMBULANCE Service (NAS) has launched an internal review after two of its emergency response paramedics on motorbikes were used to give a bride-to-be a blue-light escort to her wedding. 

After providing the 50km escort the two paramedics were told to wait outside the church until the ceremony was finished and then drop the newly-married couple to their reception venue, keeping the emergency vehicles away from their normal duties for a number of hours.

A Siptu health sector organiser described the incident, which happened in July, as “totally unacceptable”.

Two members of the NAS paramedic motorcycle response unit were rostered on shift at a station in Dublin to respond to emergency calls when they were told they would be required for other duties that morning, sources familiar with the incident told The Journal. 

The motorcycles were tasked to go to an address in another part of Dublin where they then escorted the bride to a church around 50km away in a different county. 

They were then told to escort the new bride and groom from the church to their wedding reception which was taking place at a different location in the same county, sources said.

It’s understood that the paramedic bikes remained parked at the hotel for a period and that guests took photos of each other sitting on the vehicles.

It is estimated that they were diverted from their usual duties for at least three hours on the day. It’s understood they did not respond to any medical calls during this time.

Part of the HSE/NAS review will be to see if any emergency calls were made during these hours which the motorcycle paramedics could have attended – and if the level of service to the public was impacted by the decision to use these vehicles for the wedding.

A number of NAS staff members told The Journal that the ambulance service was already dealing with serious shortages in resources at the time when the incident took place. 

Ted Kenny, who is an industrial organiser for Siptu’s health sector, said it was an unacceptable use of resources. 

“At a time when ambulance services are short [on] resources, we think it’s totally unacceptable for two paramedics to be tasked to [escort] the bride to the church and then from the church to the venue. It’s totally unacceptable.”

Asked about use of the motorcycle paramedics to provide the wedding escort, the HSE confirmed it was aware of it and a review had been launched. 

A spokesperson said: “This matter is currently being reviewed by the National Ambulance Service.” 

The spokesperson provided no further answers to other questions about the incident sent by The Journal