A Suffolk MP and former health minister has said that the ambulance trust needs to "gets a grip" on waiting times, after a ten-hour delay was found to have contributed to a patient's death.

Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey responded to the prevention of future deaths report by saying that she has met with leadership in the service, but answers to her questions remain.

The comments follow the report, which found that a ten-hour ambulance wait directly contributed to the death of Gina Bywater, 38, as the delay meant lifesaving treatment could not be given for a heart attack.

Thérèse Coffey, who served as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care from September to October 2022, yesterday stepped down from her role as Environment Secretary in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Cabinet reshuffle.

Dr Coffey said: “It’s deeply distressing that the coroner concluded that a 10-hour wait for an ambulance directly contributed to the death of Gina Bywater. My condolences go to her family.

“Following the shocking revelation that 239 ambulances were off the road at some point in August, I followed up with the Chairman and Chief Executive.

“I routinely hold the senior leadership of our ambulance service to account on behalf of patients, so during our meeting, I asked them how they are prioritising ambulance locations, what they are doing with maintenance, and whether they are following up with the manufacturer to ensure more ambulances are kept on the road.

“I’m still waiting for some of the detailed answers to my questions, but they informed me that they have recently had a change of leadership in their fleet management team, that they’ve recruited more mechanics to speed up repairs, and they’ve increased their stock of parts to compensate for supply chain issues.

“It's critical for patients that the trust gets a grip on this situation, and I will continue to follow up.”

The publication of the report came after it emerged that several of EEAST's vehicles were out of action over the summer months and start of autumn after breaking down.

On one day last month, more than half the ambulances were off the road.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “Our fleet of nearly 500 ambulances serves patients across the East of England, and – as with any large fleet - that number allows for the fact that there will always be some vehicles off the road for servicing and repair.

“Despite challenges we have faced due to global supply chain issues, the number of vehicles we have on the road each day remains high, and due to the hard work of our teams we have seen a reduction in vehicles off the road. 

“We are experiencing a higher level of unplanned off-road rates in Suffolk than any other part of the East of England. An in-depth review is underway to understand the reasons for this.  

“We have recently moved 10 vehicles to Suffolk from other areas to ensure that there are enough ambulances available to respond to 999 call, and have 89 new ambulances which will begin to arrive from this month.”