THE chief executive of an ambulance service has stood down.

Robert Morton, the CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) announced his resignation after the trust was ranked the worst in the country for delayed responses in the last year.

In the figures, obtained by the BBC by a freedom of information request, one patient had reportedly waited 24 hours and 54 minutes.

Mr Morton has been head of the trust for three years.

In a statement to EEAST staff, he said: "I need to tell you that I have informed the Chair of our Trust Board of my intention to leave the Trust in the current financial year. 

"The progress we have delivered together here at EEAST over the last three years is reflective of the hard work of our Trust Board, managers, staff and volunteers and it is a privilege to work with such a committed group of people. 

"This Trust, and in particular, you our people, have been under tremendous pressure with the ever increasing rise in demand against a background of limited resources.

"Everyone working on behalf of EEAST continues to work extremely hard, regardless of their role.

"I wish to put on record my thanks to our Trust Chair Sarah Boulton and my Board and Executive colleagues for their unwavering support and commitment over the last three years.

"I also want to thank each of you for your care, compassion and commitment to our patients and to supporting each other."

The leaving date for Mr Morton has not yet been confirmed by EEAST.

The recent revelations surrounding the trust's difficulties have seen the total number of emergency calls received increase by 15 per cent between 2015 and 2017.

Alex Mayer, MEP for the East of England was critical of the government following the figures' release, demanding immediate action to prevent these delays having even bigger impacts on patient's lives.

Sarah Boulton, chair of the trust told ITV that Mr Morton will be difficult to replace fully.

"I am sad to say that our chief executive Robert Morton has informed me that he is leaving us.

"Robert’s legacy is a great one.

"He has had the vision and compassion to get us into a great place, and our highly skilled board members will continue on their course to leading EEAST to becoming a high-performing trust."

The East of England Ambulance Service also tweeted its thanks following Mr Morton's announcement he will stand down.

It said: "The achievements and progression made in the past three years have been a team effort with his (Robert Morton) and executive leadership, and we thank Robert for his commitment and focus."