A Suffolk MP has said new data that shows a quarter of the region's ambulances were broken down at some stage of July is "concerning". 

Between July 1 and July 31, some 113 separate breakdowns were recorded by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), which has a total fleet of 489 dual-staffed ambulances.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that of these, 103 breakdowns were recorded amongst Fiat model ambulances which were introduced just four years ago following a £54million deal, and now make up 442 of the trust's vehicles. 

The remaining 10 breakdowns were amongst Mercedes model ambulances, which remain in the fleet from before the Fiat Ducatos were introduced. 

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who was Health Secretary for almost three months last year, said: "This is obviously concerning. I regularly hold the leadership of the ambulance service to account on behalf of patients and will raise this with the trust." 

In the past, Dr Coffey has been vocal about her concerns over increased waits and response time figures at EEAST. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MPTherese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP (Image: PA)

Speaking of the data, Glenn Carrington, UNISON union's East of England Ambulance Service branch chair, said the statistics were alarming.

He said staff are "already stretched" and adding vehicle failures to the mix is "a headache ambulance staff just don't need". 

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We have nearly 500 ambulances within our fleet serving patients across the East of England.

"These vehicles cover thousands of miles in service and are taken off the road for scheduled maintenance and repair when required.

"We have seen a higher-than-average demand for maintenance this summer due to a combination of causes, including global supply chain issues.

"Fiats represent 90% of our fleet and are not over represented of vehicles requiring maintenance."

East Anglian Daily Times: East of England Fiat ambulancesEast of England Fiat ambulances (Image: EEAST)

The move to bring in the newer Fiat Ducato ambulances was a controversial one as almost 100 ambulance workers suffered problems when driving the new fleet due to height and body shape. 

In 2022, figures revealed that following the introduction of the converted Fiat vans by EEAST, 94 members of staff were identified as being unable to drive them. 

Of the East of England fleet, the Fiats range from 2019 to 2021, therefore are between two and four years old, while the Mercedes vehicles are 2016 and 2018 models, therefore five to seven years old.