SIPTU is to seek a meeting with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to discuss comments attributed to him in the media that lives are being put at risk due to the manner in which emergency ambulance calls are handled in the Dublin area. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Our members involved in the emergency services reject the comments attributed to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, in media reports today, that lives are being placed at risk by a failure to resolve a row over the handling of 999 ambulance calls in Dublin.  “Either the Minister has been misinformed or he is failing to give an accurate account of the current practices in place. We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister so that the record can be corrected on this important matter.” SIPTU National Full-time Fire Committee Secretary, Shane McGill, said: “Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) has operated the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for over 120 years. The way it is operated as a combined fire and ambulance service is widely seen as international best practice. Other countries have replicated the system in Dublin, including Seattle, which has the highest survival rate from cardiac arrest.“In the case of cardiac arrest DFB can simultaneously dispatch a fire tender and ambulance so as to ensure there are enough paramedics on scene to deal with the situation and provide the patient with the best chance of a positive outcome. “It would be entirely unfair to state that a HIQA report was highly critical of the current practices. The report made recommendations to both the DFB and the National Ambulance Service in how the current service could be improved. It also found that the vast majority of delays, up to 95%, are attributable to a lack of capacity in the current service.”He added: “SIPTU representatives have been involved in talks to discuss the recommendations in the HIQA report but management has refused to implement the proposals that have emerged from them. These proposals could easily have been implemented on a trial basis while final agreement was pending.  “Our members in DFB have the support of the majority of local councillors and TDs who see the benefits of the fire-based EMS model. Motions have been passed in Dublin City Council and Dáil Éireann in support of its retention. The recent Dáil motion referred to the implementation of an Expert Panel report from 2017, this is supported by SIPTU. It is the only report conducted that had input from a clinician and a member who had fire-based EMS experience.”