Union bosses have slammed plans to draft in army men and women to drive ambulances.

Bosses at Unison Union have demanded "adequate long-term" cash and measures to help boost ambulance services.

It comes as staff shortages and busy A&Es tying up paramedics waiting to unload patients have meant military personnel are being drafted in to prop up services in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Unison Eastern regional secretary Tim Roberts said:“The East of England Ambulance Service was underfunded and overstretched even before the pandemic. With the huge extra pressures from Covid and its knock-on effect on staffing, it’s little wonder the trust has had to turn to the military for help.

“But drafting in the army to replace highly trained ambulance staff is a crude sticking plaster to patch up much bigger problems. Adequate long-term government funding and measures to retain ambulance staff, including better pay, adequate breaks and finishing on time, are urgently needed rather than a succession of quick fixes.”

The East of England Ambulance service has been contacted for comment.