Jeremy Hunt has admitted that the East of England Ambulance Service is struggling.

The Health and Social Care Secretary visited Tilbury, Thorpe Bay and Shoebury where new health care centres are planned.

During an exclusive interview, Mr Hunt said that he noticed the EEASTwas particularly struggling and that some of the stories he has heard about their service are "totally unacceptable."

He said: "We have been very closely in touch with the East of England Ambulance Service.

"We are very concerned about some of the stories about poor care which are being investigated and, if they turn out to be true, are totally unacceptable.

"What I would say is that if you look at ambulance services across the country, two things are true.

"Firstly there has been a big additional investment where we have 2,000 more paramedics than we did in 2010, about 200 more ambulances and big new investment in IT systems.

"But at the same time, we are getting more and more demand. We have around 4,500 more 999 calls a day than we did seven years ago.

"Given the context of that pressure, some ambulance services have done very well, but unfortunately the East of England Ambulance Service has struggled.

"So we want to look at what the problem is with that as some of these stories, if they are true, are unacceptable."

In light of this, the EEAST has assured patients that they are making improvements, and will be investing in more staff and vehicles.

A spokesman for the EEAST said: "Patient care is something our staff are fantastic at and our teams continue to do their best to make sure patients receive an excellent service.

"However, there have been some times when we have not delivered the standard we expect over the winter period.

"We have increased the number of ambulances by eight across the region daily.

"We are also making a number of other changes, improving the way we respond to surges in demand and working with colleagues in hospitals so our crews quickly get back on the road after a blue light transfer to hospital.

"We have also agreed with our commissioners a significant increase in funding which we will be investing in more staff and vehicles.

"As a system we are working to improve how we respond to emergency calls in the community."

We have reported last month of how four people died after experiencing long waits for an ambulance - including one person had to wait six hours for an ambulance after suffering a heart attack.