AN MP says she raised concerns about the pressures on an ambulance service just hours before a “critical incident” was declared.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas says she wrote a letter to the health minister early this morning, detailing the pressures the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) are currently under.

Shortly after, Secamb declared a critical incident following a “significant IT issue” last night and advised patients to consider alternatives to calling 999.

Ms Lucas said she raised several issues in her letter, including “the intolerable pressure on staff” and the “mental health and wellbeing of ambulance service staff”.

She says today’s IT failing has added to the pre-existing pressures.

Ms Lucas said: “The situation is unacceptable and is putting staff under further enormous pressure, in addition to that caused by the ongoing demands of the pandemic.

“There are serious concerns about the number of ambulance crew staff who are unable to work because they are suffering from significant stress and anxiety problems.

“We need to know what immediate plans ministers have to relieve some of this intolerable pressure”.

The Green Party MPs says she has also asked health minister Edward Agar MP to look again at the funding for call-handling because of the high number of calls to 111.

A spokesman for Secamb said its staff are continuing to work on resolving the IT issue but that the trust remains in a “critical incident”.

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