Ambos defend Coffs race-day crews

THE NSW Ambulance Service has defended the move to post on-duty ambulance crews trackside at the Coffs Harbour Race Club's non-TAB cup day meeting.

The Health Services Union said the moves contravene the industry award, which calls for 'special events' to be covered by paramedics on overtime not those on regular duty, but the ambulance service says the use of on-duty crews was in-line with normal policy.

HSU spokesman Gerard Hayes said the move was a cost-saving measure that could have cost lives.

"Taking one crew off a day shift, that may take two cars and possibly one car off a day shift," Mr Hayes said.

"If you have two or three cases appear at one time, you have a crew standing by at the races that can't be removed from the races. Then you need to find other alternative crew to address the case."