MONMOUTH community leaders are claiming residents are being put at risk after a pilot ambulance service scheme ended.

Monmouth MP Huw Edwards has written to Don Page, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, with an urgent request for help after discovering that the Rapid Response Vehicle had been relocated to Chepstow.

But a spokesman for the ambulance service said: "Monmouth is no worse off than it would normally be.

"The RRV in Monmouth was a pilot scheme which began in December and has now come to an end. We are evaluating how the pilot affected response times and, based on our conclusions, we'll be asking the Welsh Assembly to fund a vehicle for Monmouth.

"The RRV is currently in Chepstow while the Chepstow vehicle is being serviced, but it won't return to Monmouth afterwards."

Mr Edwards said: "This news will only add to people's concerns about response times in the county.

"I have written to the Ambulance Trust to see what is being done to reinstate the RRV."

And Monmouth's AM David Davies has written to Health Minister Jane Hutt.

Monmouth town councillor Eileen Goodrich said: "It's a disgrace. We have the Wye Valley Road and the A40 running through town and accidents do happen.

"We can't rely on ambulances from Gloucestershire, Worcester and Herefordshire - it isn't acceptable. The people of Monmouth are being put at risk."

But Welsh Ambulance Trust regional staff officer Chris Sims refuted that Monmouth was entirely without cover.

He said: "Since May we've had an intermediate tier vehicle in Monmouth 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

"In many ways it's more useful than the rapid response vehicle which can provide treatment on the scene but cannot transfer patients to hospital. "The vehicle we have in Monmouth has oxygen on board and is equipped to transfer patients as well as treat lower grade emergency calls."