Ambulance service bosses have stood by their decision to deploy trainee paramedics with ambulance crews in an attempt to deal with the extra weekend demand.

The East of England Ambulance Service said trainees had worked with fully qualified staff and there was never any danger to patients.

Associate director of operations Neil Storey said: “We are totally satisfied that our decision to employ these students on frontline ambulance duties alongside experienced members of staff was completely safe.

“In fact, by using them we were able to send out more resources to meet the demands of the public.”

Officials said that the seven trainees, who were all more than halfway through a 13 week training course, had been working in an “assistant role” and the tactic could be repeated if necessary.

The student paramedics’ involvement in parts of Cambridge and Suffolk was reported after an ambulance service manager contacted a local newspaper anonymously.

A spokeswoman said: “The students, already trained in a number of skills, enabled a safe level of service to be maintained across the region in these exceptionally busy times.

“And our student paramedics were not asked to do anything outside the scope of their training so far.

“We are experiencing a rising demand for our services and the students made the system safer by enabling experienced paramedics to look after patients needing their care.”