AMBULANCE service failings will take two more years to fix, according to the head of East of England Ambulance Service.

Dr Anthony Marsh asked patients to be patient while he brings in more paramedics and ambulances.

The service, which covers six counties including Essex, failed to reach the most urgent emergencies quickly enough regularly enough again during 2013/14.

A report, presented at the annual general meeting, blamed the failings on “the trust not having enough paramedics or ambulances”.

Plans are in place to recruit 400 student paramedics, increase the training of emergency technicians and new ambulances have been ordered to fill the gaps with signs things are improving.

Dr Marsh said: “There is still much work to do which will also take time but we have already taken great strides in moving the trust forward.”

Chairman of the board Sarah Boulton added: “The progress we have made in just three months under Dr Marsh's leadership is impressive and it is especially heartening to see the time patients are waiting for an ambulance reducing, but there is still much to be done.”

But Dr Marsh, who has been criticised for his own salary, does not have the finances in place to do so, according to the independent auditors report which stated “budgets for 2014/15 and 2015/16 did not include planned expenditure necessary to deliver the plan”.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “As the auditors recognised, the assessment was based on arrangements in place at the end of the audit, and we have ensured that the finances needed to implement the improvement plan have now been identified and planned for."