East of England Ambulance Service: 160 new vehicles needed by 2020

Image caption Mr Morton said cases of people having to wait 13 hours for ambulances "rocked him to his core"

An ambulance service needs funding for 160 new vehicles over the next two years to meet growing demand, MPs have been warned.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has been under scrutiny after claims patients had died after delays.

EEAS chief executive Robert Morton told local MPs: "For two years we've been saying there's a gap between capacity, demand and the resources we need."

The government says it has given the ambulance service extra resources.

Mr Morton told an informal meeting of East of England MPs that ambulance handover times at hospitals were improving, but the local ambulance service still needed more resources.

Image copyright Anita Hodgson
Image caption On Monday a BBC Radio Norfolk listener sent in a photograph of ambulances queuing outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk

A meeting scheduled for March was brought forward following claims that patients may have died over the Christmas period due to delays in ambulances reaching them.

Mr Morton said the trust was still investigating a number of incidents but so far had not seen any evidence to suggest anyone had died as a result of a delay.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: "Ultimately it is still going to be about how these resources are used, how many paramedics are still being deployed around the area and making sure that hospitals when they say they can take patients, they do take them and patients aren't left in ambulances outside."

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said: "Issues around leadership and management may be an issue, but you can't just blame the management. Some of this comes down to simple resourcing."

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