The number of emergency 999 calls in Leicestershire has jumped 30 per cent in the first three weeks of December, according to the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Karlie Thompson, EMAS divisional director for Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, said: Calls to 999 have increased by 30% increase over the last three weeks above expected demand. The detail of this is still being worked up, but we are finding many patients would be better treated elsewhere, such as by GPs or even going to a pharmacy and providing self-care. This demand is having a serious knock-on effect for our capacity.”

A campaign is now being run locally to try and ensire members of the public do not go to A&E inappropriately.