Insight for Sunday 15 July 2007
At a recent Parliamentary Select Committee, the Minister of Health, Pete Hodgson used the word "terrible" to describe the country's ambulance service.
His comment came amid fears that patients' lives are being put at risk because of an overstretched service, which has led to a high proportion of single crewing and slow response times.
This is happening despite more funding for the ambulance service than ever before - so what's going wrong?
Sue Ingram investigates