NHS bosses emailed colleagues to say a terminally ill worker had died - while the long-serving employee was still alive.

Martin Collins, an employee of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, died on July 3 last year at the age of 51, following a battle with cancer.

But it has now emerged that two-and-a-half weeks earlier, on June 16, an email was sent to all of his colleagues - and him - offering welfare support following news of his death. 

News of the incident comes after his widow, fellow EEAST worker Sarah Collins lodged a formal complaint with trust bosses over their handling of his death.

Mrs Collins previously told this newspaper that managers at the trust had deviated from a plan made in the run-up to his death by informing colleagues within 90 minutes of his passing - meaning co-workers knew before the pair's children, who were at school at the time.

And in a letter to Mrs Collins, EEAST chief executive Tom Abell acknowledged that the trust had "got it wrong" in its handling of the tragedy.

He said: "Having taken time to fully review the report I can see that the communication of Martin's passing was not managed in line with trust policy and procedures and, more importantly, was not done with your consent.

"For this I offer my sincere apologies - we clearly got this wrong and need to ensure that in future this does not happen again."

But Mrs Collins, of Hethersett, said she felt further action needed to be taken by the trust.

She said: "While I appreciate the response, I do not feel an apology even scratches the surface with regards to the stress and upset that has been caused to both Martin when the email saying he passed away when he hasn't was sent and to myself and his three children in the aftermath.

"We should never have been in that situation."