I write in response to a CP letter from Ivan Wooldridge complaining about the government support for the Island’s ambulance service and blaming me for it.

In fact, our ambulance service has performed exceptionally well and I would like to pay tribute to the partnership work throughout the coronavirus pandemic which kept our ambulance service supporting Islanders.

My thanks go in particular to FestiMed and Medi 4, St John’s Ambulance and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service for the support they have provided to the service throughout the pandemic.

During the course of the pandemic ambulance cover was increased by 25 per cent during the day and 33 per cent at night. This took the number of ambulances available up to around eight during the day and six at night. This level of service is currently continuing.

More ambulances on the road has dramatically improved response rates and given the service much greater resilience. This was possible due to additional Government funding.

It is true that our ambulance service has several significant challenges that pre-date Covid, including its small size (staff and vehicles), and our largely rural and isolated location. Work to try to address these issues continues, which includes a funding settlement to retain the current level of service post-Covid.

I want to re-assure Islanders that our ambulance service continues to improve and is working well in partnership with South Central Ambulance Service.

In addition, the results from the latest NHS Staff Survey show that our ambulance service is leading the way nationally.

I can assure Islanders that we will work together to achieve the best result we can for Islanders, and again I thank the men and women of our ambulance service for their dedication.

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