THE East of England Ambulance Service has been fined £1.2 million because of an excess amount of slow response times.

The service failed to respond to 75 per cent of the most serious incidents within the target eight minutes from April to July this year.

The trust has also been fined £300,000 for its turnaround time at hospitals.

The fines come just two months after a baby died when being taken ill in Chelmsford. Two police officers gave the baby first aid and took the tot to hospital, but the tot sadly died.

A probe has since been launched as the ambulance took 13 minutes to arrive on that occasion.

The trust, deals with more than 900,000 emergency calls a year.

An ambulance spokesman said investment in frontline staff should help improve the situation.

He said: “All of these actions are helping us to improve our service.”

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said it was crucial that ambulances reach those in life-threatening situations before it is too late.

He said: “I welcome the fact that the ambulance service recognises there has been a problem.

“It is recruiting hundreds of new frontline staff as well as investing in new emergency ambulances.

“This should make the difference.”