The week before Christmas saw the some of the worst ambulance response times nationally. People in Clacton, Frinton and Walton have been affected, too.
Local MP, Douglas Carswell, raised this problem directly with the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, on the floor of the Commons immediately before the Christmas break.
"It is important to recognise why there have been delays. Ambulances are not turning patients around at A&E fast enough. And that in turn is because lots of folk, unable to see a GP, are simply turning up at A&E".
"The failure to provide enough local GPs is having a knock on effect – and it is putting extra pressure on ambulances".
The percentage of patients being seen within four hours at A&E in England was under 90%, the worst performance since monitoring began in 2010. "Folk have a right to expect an ambulance to arrive quickly in an emergency" said Douglas. "Things were simply not good enough in 2014. As the local MP, I will pile on the pressure in 2015 to make certain that the problems with ambulances are fixed".
As Douglas said in the House of Commons:
"There have been serious problems with ambulance response times in Clacton. I recognise that the ambulance trust is addressing some of them, and I recognise that the Secretary of State is taking genuine steps, not least in establishing proper inspection systems, which is fantastic. However, many of the problems have been connected with turnaround times at Colchester hospital's A and E department. Would it not be helpful if patients could access primary care via GPs in the first place rather than being forced to go to A and E departments? Emergency care would be then accessible in emergencies".
Jeremy Hunt responded by saying that "The long-term solution is to provide more GPs and GP capacity, which is why we plan to train 5,000 more GPs over the course of the next Parliament, but that will take time, so we need to find shorter-term solutions. We are working with the Royal College of General Practitioners to establish what can be done in the short and medium term".