The East of England Ambulance Service has stood down its critical incident status - but the public have been warned that the health service remains under extreme pressure in the run-up to Christmas.

A critical incident status was declared earlier this week amid a high volume of 999 calls and hospital handover delays.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it stood down its incident status which had been in place to “manage the extreme pressure we were under after a high volume of calls and delays in handing over patients at hospitals”.

In a statement on its website, it added: “The NHS remains under extreme pressure – so please only call 999 for life-threatening conditions or serious injury.”

By declaring a critical incident, NHS services in the region are focused on patients with the greatest need and can access wider support from health and care partners.

Many trusts said they were already under huge pressure before strikes by ambulance workers began on Wednesday (December 21).

It came as thousands of nurses staged a walkout in a row over pay as a series of strikes hit the UK in the run-up to Christmas earlier this week.

But nurses in Norfolk and Suffolk did not take part in the first round of strike action.