FOUR members of the ambulance service board have resigned after the trust came bottom for performance.

The chief executive and chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Board have already left and new chairman Dr Geoff Harris hopes the latest resignations will “draw a line in the sand” and help the trust to move forward.

MP Priti Patel organised a debate in the House of Commons to discuss poor response times and called for the board to step down.

On Friday the trust which has an office in Broomfield confirmed all remaining non-executive directors have agreed to stand down.

A spokesman said: “The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has received resignations from Margaret Stockham, Paul Remington, Anne Osborn, and Phil Barlow with immediate effect.

“They have taken these actions in the best interests of patients and the trust and didn’t want the issue of their roles to side-track the trust from having an unrelenting focus on patients, the care they’re given, and the service they receive.”

Dr Harris said: “This is a line in the sand for the Trust and I thank them for their collective action.

“We must maintain our focus on continuing to drive up the service to patients while I focus on putting a new board in place.”

Recruitment for new board members has begun but they face an uphill struggle to help implement an 89 point improvement plan at the same time as making £5million in cuts after Government funding was reduced.

Dr Harris said: “Turning round the organisation will take time and we need to deliver further and sustained service improvements to make this a high performing ambulance Trust.”

Plans for more ambulances and paramedics to improve response times have already been announced after the trust accepted changes were needed.

Last week a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed the number of calls has risen 70 per cent from 543,000 in 2005 to 929,000 last year.

The trust is the only one in the country which failed to hit any emergency response targets.

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said the resignations were the right thing and said the trust must now focus on making improvements.

Mr Burns said: “The level of failings at the Ambulance Trust over too long a period of time demonstrates the need for a clear out of the Non Executive Directors so that the new management at the Trust can recruit a new set of Non Executive Directors who are untainted by the problem and can work together to build on the improvements already being developed so that the Trust is fit for purpose and can provide the standard of service which my constituents would expect from an Ambulance Service.”