A tenth of people who call the 111 semi-emergency number operated by the NHS hang up before they get through to anybody, new research suggests.

According to figures from the Department of Health, 11 per cent of people do not end up speaking to an advisor but hang up instead.

The phone line was originally set up in north east England last summer, in a bid to deal with urgent health concerns which do not quite justify a 999 call.

After hearing the phone line’s introductory message, 10.5 per cent of the people who hung up in November tended to do so within 30 seconds, the department said.

The remaining 0.5 per cent of people decided to give up after 30 seconds had passed.

Despite the high rate of terminated calls, the DH recorded a higher rate in September, when 12 per cent of calls were ended early.

For those who did wait to get through to an advisor in November, 92 per cent of people said they were fairly satisfied or very satisfied with the service they were offered.