The ambulance service will stop using private ambulance services by the end of this year, according to their new chief executive.

The East of England Ambulance Service spent just under £600,000 on private ambulances in March this year, down from £1.7 million in March 2013.

Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the ambulance trust, has prioritised recruiting more student paramedics and wants to increase the number of NHS funded ambulances.

The trust insists that private services are only used for low priority calls or to provide basic life support while EEAST ambulances arrive.

Dr Marsh said: "My priority is recruiting more staff and putting more of our own emergency ambulances on the road, so we provide a better service to patients."

He added: "We have reduced our reliance on private ambulance services significantly already and as we recruit more student paramedics we will stop using all private ambulance service providers by the end of the year."

Each private ambulance service is accredited by the Care Quality Commission.