More than a dozen cars without blue lights or sirens are being introduced at the region's ambulance service in an effort to support patients during peak times.

Fifteen hire cars are being brought in at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, 10 of which were delivered to the Norfolk and Waveney area, according to an internal message seen by the East Anglian Daily Times.

These vehicles will not have audible or visual warning systems and can only be driven at normal road speeds, even when on the way to emergencies. 

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesperson said: "We are putting extra vehicles into service so that we can increase the capacity of our fleet at the busiest time of year. 

"As well as increasing the number of frontline clinicians on the road, these additional vehicles will help us to respond to incidents where an ambulance response is not required, but some medical help is needed. 

"This avoids unnecessary hospital admissions as patients can be directed to the most appropriate service that meets their needs."

The spokesperson said the trust are looking at ways to improve response times and increase resources, including increasing frontline clinician numbers by 300, increasing clinical cover in control rooms and collaborating with first responders and fire services across the region.  

They added that the trust is launching five unscheduled care hubs which co-ordinate and support in finding the right care for patients who do not require a 999 response. 

Fifty per cent of the dual-staffed ambulances at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust were off the road on Monday October 23, according to an internal email seen by the East Anglian Daily Times. 

In August, a Freedom of Information request carried out by the East Anglian Daily Times found that 212 breakdowns were recorded among the trust’s Fiat ambulances, which were introduced just four years ago as part of a £54million deal, and now make up 442 of the trust’s fleet.  

A further 27 breakdowns were among its Mercedes ambulances, 47 of which were in the fleet before the Fiats were introduced.  

A previous Freedom of Information request revealed that in July there were 113 breakdowns recorded by the trust - 103 Fiat ambulances and 10 Mercedes vehicles.