Lack of use has been given as a reason for why Helston's NHS rapid response vehicle is being cut, by the chief executive of the ambulance service.

Ken Wenman, CEO of the South Western Ambulance Service, made the assertion in a letter to town clerk Chris Dawson following concerns raised by the town council about the impending cuts to the service.

The Helston Packet exclusively revealed back in March that there will no longer be a rapid response car based out of the ambulance station at Helston Community Hospital from June, due to a cost-cutting exercise.

As a result, a single ambulance is all that will be directly responsible for covering an area that spans all the way to Lizard Point and across to the Helford River, as well as Helston itself with a population of more than 11,000 residents.

The rapid response car will be converted into a double-crewed ambulance, but it has never been confirmed whether this will remain in the town or be relocated.

It is now likely to be the latter, with Mr Wenman writing: "Although the rapid response vehicle will be moved from Helston, the overall increase at peak is six additional double-crewed ambulances in West Cornwall.

"The car was also underutilised and that's why we are introducing more double-crewed ambulances in your area with patient carrying capability."

This differs to the view of town councillors, however, who previously spoke of their fear that lives would be "put at risk" through the cuts.

Mr Wenham added that the response car "only works 12 hours per day," from 9am to 9pm, and the coverage by ambulance was being increased with the change in rotas.

He said 12 months of analysis had concluded that a review of resources and shift times would "have the greatest benefit to our patients."

The number of double-crewed ambulances is now being increased by 60 in the Trust area - although this represents a fifth of England as a whole, covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former Avon area.

Mr Wenman said the changes were "only the first step," as although £3.6 million investment was promised this was "not sufficient to resolve all of the current pressures."