A Norfolk nursing chief has issued a warning to people to only go to A&E in a real emergency after a second critical incident this month was declared.

The East of England Ambulance Service confirmed the critical status amid a high volume of 999 calls and hospital handover delays.

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.

Tricia D’Orsi, director of nursing for NHS Norfolk and Waveney said the NHS need the public's help "now more than ever".

"Given the sustained pressures on our services and the healthcare system in Norfolk and Waveney right now, we need the public's help now more than ever," she said.

Eastern Daily Press:

"If you need urgent medical advice, please visit NHS 111 online or call 111.

"Our emergency departments are for serious or life threatening emergencies only, so please think carefully about what service you need when seeking health help over the weekend.

“Our staff are working really hard to deliver the best care they can to people, so please bear with them."

Ms D’Orsi urged any party goers to use caution if enjoying new year celebrations tonight.

"If you’re celebrating the new year, whether out with friends or at home, please know your alcohol limits and stay safe," she said.

On December 20, the public were warned that the health service remains under extreme pressure in the run-up to Christmas.

The service stood down its incident status two days later but has since increased it again as staff battle to respond to extreme demand.

The warning comes after police commander superintendent Terry Lordan also warned revellers in Norfolk to be vigilant about drink spiking as people gear up to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Additional officers will be out patrolling the county's nightlife on what is traditionally the busiest night of the year for police.

Officers are reiterating advice on what to do if someone has been spiked – report it to the police and get tested by them quickly. 

Many venues have given extra training to staff to ensure that all reports of spiking are logged and reported immediately.