THE number of emergency vehicles in North and East Yorkshire is set to rise, under a major expansion by Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS).

Dozens of new ambulances and rapid-response vehicles (RRVs) are being introduced, to help meet new Call Connect targets.

YAS is also recruiting new staff for the vehicles.

In total, YAS is introducing 120 vehicles - 40 new ambulances; 22 new RRVs; and 58 replacement vehicles across the whole of Yorkshire.

Of those 120, 18 will be in North Yorkshire and 25 in East Yorkshire.

Mick Farmer, YAS's assistant director, said: "Replacing some of YAS's older vehicles with brand new ones helps us to serve our patients better with a more modern and reliable fleet." The roll-out of the vehicles has already started, and a spokeswoman said they would also offer better patient comfort.

She said: "Many of the new vehicles will be operational from new and modernised stand-by points around Yorkshire.

"A stand-by point is a strategically-placed location from where YAS resources can be dispatched to respond to patients as quickly as possible."

Under the roll-out, York will get one additional ambulance; one additional RRV; and three replacement RRVs.

Selby will get one replacement RRV; Goole will get an additional ambulance; Pocklington will get an additional RRV; Harrogate will get two replacement RRVs; and Scarborough will get one additional RRV and two replacement ones.

Elsewhere in the region, West Yorkshire will get 35 additional or replacement vehicles, and South Yorkshire will get 42.

The new Call Connect targets represent a change in the way ambulance services' performance is monitored. Currently, response times begin when the call operator has obtained the caller's location, phone number and complaint.

From April 1, 2008, the response time will begin earlier - as soon as the call is connected to the ambulance control room.