Police cars in Harlow being used as ambulances.

POLICE in Essex have had to take patients to hospital when ambulances fail to show up more than 180 times in the past year, it has emerged.

When BBC News revealed police concerns about ambulance delays a year ago, police and the ambulance service said they did not record such incidents.

But figures obtained by the BBC show in 2013 Essex Police took 185 patients to hospital.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it needed more staff.

The worst month last year was March, when 22 patients were conveyed to hospital because of “excessive ambulance delays” or “no shows”. In July, there were 20 such occasions and 21 in October.

The figures also show there were 121 incidents recorded as “excessive delays” in ambulances arriving at emergency incidents and 83 episodes classed as “inappropriate ambulance requests” of the police force.

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