AMBULANCE bosses have launched a campaign urging people not to make inappropriate 999 calls.

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) staff have recently had to deal with a number of calls regarding issues including split finger nails, spilt tea and a feral cat bite.

Now the service's #MakeTheRightCall campaign has been launched in a bid to urge patients to carefully consider if they really need an ambulance when dialling the emergency number.

Other 'shocking' examples of misuse of the service in recent weeks include people who were reporting a blocked nose and a ring stuck on a finger and someone who told the operator he or she had vomited following a night out.

Derek Cartwright, director of operations for NWAS, said: “Less than half of our 999 calls are for life-threatening emergencies which means there are many patients that could better care by going elsewhere for treatment.

"The #MakeTheRightCall campaign aims to help people understand what their options are and where to find care for less-urgent illnesses and injuries.

"Only the most serious 999 calls will receive a fast ambulance response and therefore, those with minor injuries are likely to find it quicker and more convenient to make their own way to hospital or to use alternatives such as pharmacies, GPs, walk-in centres or self-care.

"Social media users across the North West have been fantastic with getting involved in our previous campaigns including #Team999 and #FindTheDefib and we are calling upon you again to help us spread this message far and wide as making the right call really can help save lives!"

The campaign comes as ambulances need to be freed up during the winter pressure

Common unnecessary calls seeking urgent assistance include cuts, sprains, vomiting and hangovers, as well as groin pain, aching knees and a nosebleed.

All of these ailments would have been better treated better elsewhere so operators can instead only spend their time dispatching paramedics to genuine emergencies.

In the North West, NHS 111 replaced NHS Direct in 2013 and by calling the free 111 number people can get non-emergency medical help quickly and it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.