CONCERNED councillors are calling for the ambulance service in Inverclyde to come under closer scrutiny.

Members of the police and fire scrutiny committee have raised the prospect of the Scottish Ambulance Service being included in their remit alongside the two other emergency services.

It follows growing unrest locally about ambulance availabilty and issues with the centralisation of health services.

Independent councillor Lynne Quinn told meeting there was a lack of scrutiny and said she would like to see local ambulance commanders attend.

Cllr Quinn added: "We have the police and the fire - I wonder if we could have the ambulance included in the scrutiny committee.

"It is after all our third emergency service."

Cllr Tommy McVey, another independent councillor, backed up her calls.

He added: "I think we will ask our officers to take this up with the ambulance service and get them along to meetings."

But council leader Stephen McCabe intervened with a note of caution, advising that the scrutiny board was set up under particular legislation in relation to the police and fire.

He explained that the Scottish Ambulance Service comes under the NHS, meaning it would fall under the responsibilty of various health board and HSCP committees.

Mr McCabe added: "I am saying it may not be in the gift of the committee to do this."

Police and fire scrutiny committees were set up to replace the former local police and fire boards.

Leaders of the local services present regular update reports on performance and then the floor is opened up for questions by councillors.

The Scottish Ambulance Service is a trust within the NHS.

Councillor Quinn said: "I sit on the Inverclyde Integration Board and the health and social care partnership and I have yet to see any scrutiny of the ambulance service."

Officers have agreed to now look into possible ways to include the ambulance service in the committee's work.