PATIENTS and staff are still being let down by the ambulance service but improvements have been made, according to a new report.

The Care Quality Commission today published a review into the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

It came out just a day after chairman of the board, Dr Geoffrey Harris OBE, resigned.

The trust is hitting its targets in five out of seven areas but concerns have been raised again about emergency response times and staffing levels.

The report states: “Since our last inspection we found the trust had made significant improvements in a number of areas.

“Staff sickness absence rates had reduced and the number of staff who had received a performance development review had increased considerably.

“Complaints relating to delays had decreased as had the number of serious incidents experienced by the trust.

“However the trust has not seen the improvement needed in some areas such as ambulance response times to life threatening 999 calls.”

Ambulances are still being delayed at hospitals, stroke patients don’t always arrive at specialist centres within 60 minutes and more paramedics are needed.

Concerns have been sent to the Trust Development Authority, which oversees the trust, but no enforcement action is being taken.

The report was published following a surprise inspection in December.

Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the trust, said: "This is an important report as it acknowledges the improvements that have already been made.

"It highlights the need to reduce long response times and ambulance back up delays to patients.

“I welcome this report as it shows everyone where we are; the improvements we have made and confirms that the changes we are making will tackle the other areas that need improvement, although this will take time."