The NHS has defended its non-emergency 111 helpline after criticism that its call handlers are sending too many patients to A&E.
NHS England said despite the helpline seeing a 40% increase in calls in the run-up to Christmas, referrals to A&E and ambulance services had fallen.
It said referrals to the ambulance services dropped from 11.3% to 9.7% while referrals to A&E fell from 7.6% to 5.7%.
NHS England added that during the last six months, fewer patients were referred through the helpline to A&E units over weekends than during the week, with 6.4% of calls referred compared with 8.6% between Monday and Friday.
Ed Miliband wants former nursing staff to be drafted in as part of a new five-point plan to ease the burden on accident and emergency.
Hospitals are saying there simply are not enough beds and trained medical staff for sick patients who need to be admitted.
With A&E waiting times slumping to their worst in 10 years, did your hospital make it on to the worst 10 list?