MSP Katy Clark has described the ambulance situation in Ayrshire as “appalling” as it emerged that NHS Ayrshire & Arran has recorded the worst response times in Scotland for several weeks running.

Scottish Ambulance Service figures show the average turnaround time in the last three weeks recorded was the worst of any health board.

Both University Hospital Crosshouse and University Hospital Ayr have worse turnaround times than the national average.

This month, Ayrshire & Arran has also been the only health board with an average wait of over an hour.

For purple category incidents which involve the most critically ill patients, Ayrshire & Arran also had the worst average waiting time at the start of March.

West Scotland Labour MSP Katy Clark insists the figures are not acceptable, and has called on the government to launch a recruitment drive to support the health board.

She said: “These statistics are appalling but not surprising. I have had several constituents coming forward with horror stories in recent months.

“Phoning an ambulance in distress is not an easy thing to do, which is why people have such faith in our NHS. However, these lengthy waits are becoming the norm, especially in Ayrshire.

“The truth is that paramedics and hospital staff are exhausted, demoralised and absolutely overworked.

“The Scottish Government cannot continue to tread water on this: ministers must urgently ramp up recruitment to meet demand and come forward with a real recovery plan.”