The under-performing Welsh ambulance service should be disbanded and run by the new local NHS boards, says Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman Helen Mary Jones.

She says that disbanding the Welsh Ambulance Services trust would cut bureaucracy and running costs, including the chief executive’s £119,000 salary.

A locally-controlled service would also improve response times, she says. Statistics show that just 64% of ambulances arrive within eight minutes at the scene of life-threatening incidents.

Speaking at the Plaid conference in Llandudno, Ms Jones said the current set-up had failed to tackle problems that have dogged the service for years.

She said: “The establishment of the local health boards throughout Wales offers us a very real and viable option for the future of the ambulance service.

“Ambulances could be co-ordinated on a far more local level, to ensure that the health authorities have to work in a joined-up way.”

Health minister for Wales Edwina Hart told assembly members in June that she was “sick” of answering questions about the performance of the ambulance service.

“I am getting a little sick as a minister of having to respond to this question because I feel I have got my officials there, I am doing the business, but there is something in the service that doesn’t quite gel right. I think we will eventually get there but it’s proving very, very difficult at the moment,” she said.