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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 19:25 GMT
Plans to increase ambulance area
The government has plans for a huge expansion of the area covered by the East Midlands Ambulance service.

Since 1999, the service has covered Leicestershire, Rutland, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

It is now being proposed that it cover South Lincolnshire and Northants, which would make it one of the largest ambulance services outside London.

If approval is given, it is understood the expanded service could be running by April 2007.

On a visit to the region today, Health Secretary and Leicester West MP Patricia Hewitt, said: "We have to keep improving the ambulance services so people who desperately need to get to hospital get fast, urgent attention.

"The response times are not always as good as they should be - though they have been getting better - and that is one of the things we will be looking at in a proposed reorganisation of the service."

A 14-week public consultation on the plan will start later this month.

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