AMBULANCE cover for Huntingdon has been doubled ... but paramedic cover for the district as a whole has been cut 100 hours per week, new figures have shown.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has increased the number of double-staffed ambulances in Huntingdon from two to four in a rota redesign aimed at providing "an improved service to residents".

Details of the redesign, revealed following a Freedom of Information request, show that Huntingdon has lost one rapid response vehicle (RRV) and, along with it, 168 hours a week of paramedic cover.

The town's ambulance station now has four ambulances covering Huntingdon and the surrounding area, an intermediate tier vehicle - which can transport patients to hospital - covering 78 hours a week and one RVV providing 168 hours of cover.

In St Neots, the number of ambulances - one - remains the same, but the number of RRV hours has dropped 28 hours to 140 hours a week. St Ives has not seen a change to its ambulance, which covers the whole week.

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the EEAS, said: "Our new interim chief executive Andrew Morgan has been out listening to and talking with as many staff as possible and the feedback has been a cause of great concern. Our top two priorities are to improve our response times and improve staff morale and of course these two are interlinked.

"Changes have already been made as a result of the feedback from staff and patients such as giving more power to local managers, making more ambulances available while new staff are recruited, asking staff for station-level solutions to rota issues, implementing a new development strategy, and directly involving staff in decisions."

"Since April, the Huntingdon area has benefitted from a new manager who brings a wealth of both operational and clinical experience and has had a very warm welcome from staff and other stakeholders alike," Mr Sanderson added.

"Additionally, the trust has increased its Cambridgeshire staff in the control room in the last two months in response to feedback from local operational staff.

"We are actively recruiting additional frontline clinical staff and have employed an additional 10 staff so far for this area since April - some have already begun and others will be joining in the next two months."

The EEAS is running a clinical capacity review to look at what resources the service has and requires which is due to be completed by the end of October.