THERE was “unprecedented demand” for ambulances over the Christmas weekend, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service has said.

Calls for the most seriously ill or injured rose 30 per cent, with a 56 per cent increase in calls to NHS 111 and a total of almost 20,000 calls coming in over December 27 and 28.

Dr David Macklin, executive director of operations, said: “Our staff and volunteers across all areas have been brilliant over the extended Christmas period. Snow and icy conditions on top of an increased demand for our most urgent calls has meant that they have had to work above and beyond their normal hours.

“We have had to strictly prioritise our calls to ensure that the people who most needed our help received it. This has meant that some people have not got the response they expected or wanted but I am sure they will understand that patients with life-threatening illnesses and serious injuries should be cared for first.

"This increase in demand to 999 is unlikely to fall over the New Year period and whilst we do not want to deter people from calling 999 in serious cases such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or stroke, we do need people to think very carefully about their options.”