One in four calls to Scotland’s NHS 24 over winter were abandoned before they were answered, new figures have shown.

From October to mid January, 25.8% of calls to the 111 helpline did not reach an operator before the caller cut off. The average wait was about 18 minutes.

Scottish Labour, which obtained the data from a freedom of information request, said it was “unacceptable”.

A spokeswoman for NHS 24 said there had been an unprecedented growth in demand during the pandemic.

Between 1 October and 16 January, 163,814 calls to the helpline were abandoned out of a total of 632,637, according to data provided to Scottish Labour.

A similar request submitted by the Scottish Conservatives found 68,119 calls were abandoned in September, more than any of the following four months.

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