THREE of the five people who act as ambulance service ‘watchdogs’ have announced their resignations, saying they felt unable to give the job the necessary time.

The North West Ambulance Service Trust’s non-executive directors are expected to work a minimum of 2.5 days per month.

But David Peat, who stood down alongside Ruth Roberts and Gary Parker on December 31, said he had been working ‘well over double that’.

The Simonstone councillor added: “There was no fall out about anything. I’d been in the role nearly two years and recently turned 65 and felt I needed to move on.

“We got to a place in December where we had set out some new governance arrangements, so it made sense to go at that point.

“The expectation is high but it’s not for me to say whether they should increase the salary. I didn’t do it for the money.”

Mr Parker, who lives in Cheshire and started at the same time as Mr Peat, declined to be interviewed. Mrs Roberts, a former Bolton nurse who took up her role in March last year, was said to be unavailable for comment.

Non-executives attend board meetings and their role is to scrutinise and challenge the executive team. They can also chair sub-committees and head up special projects.

Mary Whyham, chairman of NWAS, said in a statement: "During the autumn, the trust commissioned a review of its governance arrangements.

“A particular emphasis for the review was an evaluation of the board to provide the necessary leadership for the trust through what is likely to be an extended period of strategic change.

“The scale of this challenge cannot be underestimated and nor can the impact that this may have on those individuals charged with governance.”

She said the non-executives, who carry a salary of £6,157, felt ‘unable to give the ever increasing level of time necessary to achieve these goals’.

The salaries are set nationally and NWAS said it was unaware of any plans to increase it.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who has been scrutinising NWAS in recent months, said: “It does seem slightly odd but I don’t know the individual circumstances.

“I would say that the pressure on non-executives is increasing after the high profile scandals we’ve seen in the NHS recently. “There is a lot more scrutiny of governance which is putting more pressure on people in those roles.”