A 13-year-old boy suffering an asthma attack stopped breathing in a taxi on the way to hospital after the child's mother was told no ambulances were available, with a number out of action due to ramping and other jobs.

The boy's mother called an ambulance when he had an asthma attack just before 8:00pm on Thursday July 14, but was told there would be delays because of high demand for emergency medical services.

About 40 minutes later, the mother told the ambulance service she had called a taxi to take the child to hospital.

Half an hour after that, the taxi driver called triple-0 saying the boy had stopped breathing and they needed emergency assistance.

Police officers were the first to reach the taxi, and CPR was performed on the boy until paramedics arrived — almost 20 minutes after the emergency call was made.

The paramedics were crews from Oatlands and Huonville, both more than half an hour's drive from Hobart.

Three vehicles out of action due to training

The Health and Community Services Union said no Hobart ambulances could respond because a number were ramped at the Royal Hobart Hospital, caring for seven patients who were waiting to be transferred to the Emergency Department.

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