TOTAL of 120 new ambulances are now in action across the region – a month ahead of schedule.

The East of England Ambulance Service bought the new vehicles earlier this year and there are now five replacement ambulances in Basildon, one in Canvey and three in Rayleigh.

All were supposed to be in place by the end of June, but chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh said they were ahead of schedule.

He said: “I’m delighted these ambulances have now been delivered across the region.

“Our staff have worked incredibly hard to make this happen so quickly.

“But this is just the beginning and as the fleet replacement programme continues this year, we will have no vehicle older than five years by spring next year.

“We’re also working hard to achieve my other key priorities, which include recruiting 400 new paramedics.”

The trust will replace its 68 rapid response cars with new Skoda Scouts this month.