MPs have called for urgent action after Hampshire’s ambulance boss admitted the county does not have enough ambulances.

South Central Ambulance Trust chief executive Will Hancock added that no such problems existed in the Thames Valley area, which he is also responsible for covering.

He said: “We have a fundamental problem. We are short of frontline ambulances in Hampshire. It’s as simple as that.

“We make the very best of what we’ve got, but we need more.

“If we are talking about Thames Valley, which is the other part of the area that I cover, it’s much more resourced and we don’t have these similar problems.”

New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne said: “We pay our taxes, too. There has to be a fair share of resources.”

He urged the ambulance service to improve its emergency response times, which has seen the service meet the eight minute target for urban areas, but only achieve an average of 11 and a half minutes for rural areas.

Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne said: “Response times must improve and it is very worrying that the ambulance service admits that it doesn’t have enough vehicles to provide the same quality of service in our county as elsewhere. I will be raising this with ministers.”

A South Central Ambulance spokesman said that they planned to increase the number of ambulances but could not say when, as it would be “subject to funding”.

He added that the ambulance service, covering Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, planned to have “the same level of resources available across the four counties we serve”.

Commenting on Hampshire’s ambulance shortage, the spokesman said: “This is a long-standing situation that goes back many years.

“Our focus is on improvements for patients with immediately life-threatening conditions.

We accept waits for other patients in Hampshire may be longer than those experienced elsewhere. Additional funding would enable us to address this situation and to provide an improved service to them.”

The Daily Echo last week highlighted the case of a Hampshire stroke victim who died just weeks after waiting 12 hours to get to a hospital bed South Central Ambulance Service admitted it took almost six hours – an hour and threequarters longer than promised – to collect 92-year-old Thirza Gover from her Totton home.

■ See Saturday’s Review section for an insight into a Friday night shift with South Central Ambulance.