Welsh Assembly health minister Edwina Hart has said she “cannot justify” some of the problems with ambulance waiting times.

The Gower AM was questioned about delays in patients being admitted to hospitals during a plenary session at the Senedd, Cardiff.

Lynne Neagle, AM for Torfaen, said she was particularly concerned about the issue in her constituency, which she described as being “simply unacceptable”.

Mrs Hart said: “It is a top priority and I am very disappointed when we don’t get the response times the public need across Wales, as well as in Torfaen.”

The minister added that she had spoken with the chairs of local health boards, as well as the ambulance service, about the difficulties concerning “continued problems of waiting times at accident and emergency units”.

Mrs Hart said during the winter snap late last year rapid response vehicles - which often arrive at the scene of an accident before a conventional ambulance - were unable to operate in many parts of Wales.

“In many ways, they [the paramedics] did a terrific job during that period. But I won’t justify, and cannot justify, some of the problems we are still having with ambulance delivery times and it is a matter that we are pursuing with absolute vigour.”