The New South Wales Ambulance Service has defended a proposal to send firefighters to medical emergencies.
The State Government is considering setting up a first responder program which would see firefighters arrive first on an accident scene to administer CPR, if ambulance officers are too busy to get there quickly.
The plan is contained in a report aimed at restructuring the NSW Ambulance Service, which was released last year.
Acting chief executive of NSW Ambulance, Mike Willis, says the changes are aimed at making sure patients get care as quickly as possible.
"Emergency service workers already are obviously first aid trained and more importantly they have cardiac defibrillators on board," he said.
"[Fire fighters] are at greater locations than the ambulance service is across the state for obvious reasons and we're going to link into that now.
"I just want to stress that it's a first response program, paramedics will still be attending to these patients."
The Australian Medical Association says the plan will put lives at risk.
NSW Branch President Brian Owler says it should not go ahead.
"Although [fire fighters] are trained in resuscitation and first aid, it's not really the same sort of training that a specialist paramedic officer has been through," he said.
"They can't provide the same sort of resuscitation and advanced life support that a paramedic in particular is able to provide."
The State Opposition has sided with doctors and has expressed alarm at the prospect of firefighters being sent to medical emergencies.
Labor's health spokesman Andrew McDonald says it's a mad idea which could put lives at risk.
"What this does is extend an inadequate service in other parts of NSW to major towns such as Orange and Bathurst and soon coming to the suburbs of Sydney," he said.
"This is not the way to deal with the health needs of the community."