Emergency ambulance call-outs soared over the weekend, including the night dubbed 'Black Friday' by ambulance staff.

In Essex, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) received 2,518 calls over the weekend, compared to 2,100 a month ago. 

The EEAST have urged the public to make sure they have everything in place to ensure a happy and healthy festive holiday.

Director of operations Neil Storey said: "Advice to the 'last minuters' out there is that it is not too late to stock up on necessary medicines and the basics you may need at this time of year like painkillers, indigestion tablets and cold remedies.

"Pharmacies will still be open today for over the counter medicines and your GP may be able to issue a prescription in a genuine emergency.

"Everyone should keep themselves warm and protected and resist the temptation to go beyond indulging to ensure they have a great Christmas. Our Get Wise in Winter campaign page on our website has more detailed advice.

"Only call 999 in an emergency like suspected cardiac or stroke. Minor calls will be redirected to a more appropriate health care provider like out of hours doctor or 111."

EEAST put extra resources on the night traditionally dubbed Black Friday by emergency crews as the peak of the party season combines with winter illnesses and dipping temperatures to see calls soar on the Friday of the last full weekend before Christmas.

On Friday, the service received 427 calls from Essex.

Mr Storey said: "We want to thank our staff and volunteers for the sterling work they did over the whole weekend which saw a big increase in demand, mainly down to Friday night.

"It is impossible to break this down into exact causes but anecdotal evidence is that many calls on Friday were related to excess drinking. Again our advice is not to take indulgence too far. Christmas in A&E is no fun."