HAYDEN Newton, head of the under fire East of England Ambulance Service Trust, announced his retirement today.

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Mr Newton, chief executive, is leaving after five years in the post.

His retirement comes amidst a growing campaign to spotlight ambulance response times and has included criticism from NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay.

“Rural areas like North East Cambridgeshire have an ongoing problem with ambulance response times and a worrying number of complaints have come through my office,” said Mr Barclay.

“Several constituents have raised concerns where ambulances have been slow to respond. Recent reports, for example, have indicated ambulance wait times of up to two hours or not arriving at all.”

The announcement by Mr Newton comes amidst continued concern over such delays not just in Cambridgeshire but in other parts of East Anglia.

Mr Newton said: “Now I am nearing my retirement age, I think the time is right to pass the baton onto a new chief executive whilst I look for a new focus in my life.”

Mr Newton will go within the next six months.

Maria Ball, chairman of EEAST, said: “Hayden has been an excellent chief executive and under his leadership the Trust has made real progress. Our clinical support desks are saving around 900 ambulance unnecessary dispatches every week, paramedic numbers have increased significantly under his leadership and more front line staff continue to be recruited to nearly double the number since he took over in 2007 when the Trust faced significant financial issues.”

Meanwhile Mr Barclay insists that those in the East of England region can expect to wait longer for an ambulance than most other areas in the UK, a fact he says clearly illustrated in the data published on the Department for Health website.

He added: “Slow response times evidently continue to frustrate residents in rural areas.”

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