AMBULANCE cover on Canvey has been criticised after a woman tragically died at a bus stop.

Paramedics rushed to the scene but took almost twice as along to arrive as the target time for cardiac arrests while the islands rapid response vehicle (RRV) was not in use, it is claimed.

Critics claim they feared this would happen following reports the only dedicated vehicle isn’t in use 50 per cent of the time.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust said: “We were called at 9.29pm on Saturday with reports of a cardiac arrest in Long Road, Canvey.

“We sent two ambulances and an ambulance officer.

“A woman was taken to Basildon Hospital.

“The first ambulance arrived in 13 minutes and 30 seconds.

“This call was marked as category one - immediately life threatening injuries and illnesses. These will be responded to in an average time of seven minutes, and within 15 minutes at least nine out of ten times.

“There are no plans at this time to remove the Canvey RRV.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

The trust did not comment on how often the vehicle is manned.

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris said: “I am very saddened to hear of this tragic death of someone so young.

“If there is any suggestion that this lady’s death was as a result of ambulance response times it must be investigated.

“I have repeatedly met with the ambulance service in relation to the concerns over the RRV stationed out of Canvey and they repeatedly assure me that it would only be changed when they can use the extra funding they are receiving, to potentially replace it with additional ambulances stationed on the Island instead.”

A woman aged in her 40s collapsed at the scene while a bystander called the ambulance service and an off duty paramedic also passed and gave assistance.

A paramedic from Canvey, said: “The RRV wasn’t manned during this sad event, so it took 14 minutes to get a response to this person, which is well outside the eight minute response time for a category one call.

“The RRV could have been on the scene in a matter of minutes.

“Sadly, the community first responders were also not on duty. These fantastic people volunteer to give up their own time to respond to calls, but it is not a service that is covered 24 hours-a-day.

“Currently there are two full time paramedics who work on the RRV, it should be four to facilitate 24 hour cover, but vacant positions have not been filled.

“This means the RRV is only manned 50 per cent of its total capacity and vacant shifts are not routinely covered by other staff.

“Staff have repeatedly told the ambulance service that it is early intervention that saves lives.

“Without the RRV, people will die and suffer long term, the sickest patients will be in most peril which has been proven.

“The trust have said they plan to put three ambulances on Canvey, one ambulance would be working 24 hours a day, one working 19 hours a day and one working 12 hours a day.

“This still does not get early intervention to a patient in need. As soon as any of the ambulances take a patient to hospital, it is away from Canvey.” It is not known whether the outcome could have been different and everyone involved did all they could to try and save her.