PARAMEDICS urged residents only to dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency over the Christmas and New Year period.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year.

Paul Jefferies, assistant director of operations, said: “We would encourage the public to use 999 and A&E only for life-threatening or serious emergencies; advice they should follow all year round, but particularly during the winter and Christmas period which sees the highest demand across all NHS services.

"We predict our 999 demand on an hourly basis (normally within 5% accuracy) and then match our resources to these figures by hour of day.

"Our resourcing over the festive period in South Central is strong, but there are a number of ways members of the public can really help us make sure we can get to our most seriously ill or injured patients as quickly as possible.”