DAMNING figures show ambulances in Thurrock missed all their response times over the last six months.
East of England Ambulance Service released the six month performance figures showing the response times for crews between April and September this year.
Ambulances must arrive within eight minutes of life threatening emergency calls at least 75 per cent of the time.
East of England Ambulance chief executive Anthony Marsh blamed the poor figures on a shortage of staff.
He said: “I recognise ambulance response times are not good enough and this is because I inherited an organisation which simply did not have enough paramedics – a shortfall of about 700. We are tackling these issues and we have made significant progress.
“Our staff are working as hard as they can to get to patients as quickly as possible, but there are not enough staff to deal with increasing numbers of 999 calls.
“I am very proud of my staff for working under this extraordinary pressure. I ask that we all please support our ambulance staff.”
In an effort to turn the tide, the ambulance service has implemented a two-year improvement plan, including a recruitment drive which has resulted in 142 student paramedics being offered contracts, along with 16 graduates.
In addition, a total of 147 new ambulances are on the road and another 120 have been ordered.