Prime Minister Defends Ambulance Delays

The Prime Minister has told Heart he is confident the East of England Ambulance Service is improving despite figures showing huge delays in patients being transferred into hospitals over Christmas.

The figures, which were report yesterday, showed ambulances waited outside hospitals in the East for a total of 6,000 hours over Christmas - that is the equivalent of 250 days.

It also emerged 2,000 patients waited more than an hour to handed into the care of a doctor, the worst rate in the UK.

Speaking to Heart in Colchester, David Cameron said: "What we need to do is to invest more into training paramedics and that's exactly what's happening in the East of England.

"If we look at the figures there are more people being responded to within eight minutes than there were in the previous year, what's happened is the number of calls and requests has gone up.

"What we have is a programme to train more paramedics, to invest in more ambulances and that I think in the East of England will see us get back towards the targets that are quite rightly put in place for the eight minute response times."

The East of England Ambulance Service says it is shocked by the figures and puts it down to huge demand this winter. It says it is working with hospitals to reduce demand and improve processes at peak times.

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