Volunteer drivers who take patients to non-emergency hospital appointments have been reassured they will not lose their roles.

The volunteers work for the ambulance service and use their own cars to transport patients to and from hospital in mid Essex.

ERS Medical spokesman said it will be using existing volunteers, including drivers working out of Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, and wants to hear from any other voluntary groups that can also help.

Alec Hopkins, 69, of Fitch's Crescent, Maldon has been using the drivers for about five years and said: "They could not be more helpful and they help a lot of people."