WE all depend on ambulances. In our worst moments, we rely for our lives on them being there for us.

Yet this is not happening.

Statistics released yesterday show that for Category 2 call-outs, the NHS target is an 18 minute response time but the North East Ambulance Service’s average response was 44 minutes. This is, by 49 seconds, better than May’s worst ever average but it is still deeply concerning – as the tragic case of Aaron Morris shows, where an ambulance took 50 minutes to reach him in Esh Winning after an accident.

We do not doubt the hard work and dedication of the paramedics and frontline staff. We are aware that before the pandemic, NEAS got 1,055 calls and is now, on its busiest days, receiving 1,900 – an astonishing rise that would force any service to creak, and across the country ambulance services are in big trouble.

However, a month ago, the then Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced an independent NHS inquiry into the “tragic failings” of NEAS which included even this year offering staff £40,000 non-disclosure agreements.

So we can see people are dying and the ambulance service is nowhere near reaching its target times. In the forthcoming heatwave, this situation will not improve.

We have no answers, but we must keep calling this situation out until ambulance managers and politicians address a situation which is not acceptable to the public.