AMBULANCE staff have been told they need to improve their service and performance after failing in their bid to become a Foundation Trust free from central Government control.

Health regulator Monitor said it was deferring the East of England Ambulance Service's bid because it failed to meet its 19-minute response time target.

It also said EEAST had "not yet provided evidence that it has a robust action plan in place to address this".

A spokesman for Monitor added: "In addition, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is giving further consideration to quality information before being ready to conclude on its assurance position on all CQC essential standards.

"Monitor will not authorise trusts without this assurance."

Maria Ball, chairman of the trust, said: "I have been extremely proud of the commitment shown by members and colleagues to this application but recognise that this is a challenging time for the ambulance service.

"We do need to improve our service and performance. We are focused on delivering the best possible service to patients and addressing the areas that Monitor have raised."

The trust will now involve front-line staff, governors, commissioners and other stakeholders to discuss how further changes can be made to improve performance and reduce ambulance delays.

It expects to resubmit its application in the next six to 12 months.

EEAST interim chief executive Andrew Morgan, who started his new job last week, said: "In the few days that I have been in post I have had many good ideas already from staff that gives me real belief that we can transform our service."