Callers to the NHS's non-emergency helpline 111 might have misunderstood the purpose of the service, going by some of the more peculiar enquiries that have been made.

Hundreds of people have reportedly phoned the emergency line to ask for help with problems such as broken nails, hair loss and even snake bites.

According to recent statistics a total of 145 people called to get information on sunburn; 224 rang for help with a blocked nose, and 489 inexplicably called to say they had stubbed their toe.

766 people called to speak about genital injuries while six phoned in for advice about treatment for snake bites.

Rather worryingly 99 people called to ask what to do after being bitten by another person.

The 111 service launched in April last year replacing NHS Direct. Calls to the helpline have almost doubled with 983,683 calling in August 2014, compared with 548,318 in August last year.

The helpline has the focus of controversy with reports incorrect advice being given out and patients needing emergency treatment being forced to sit through a series of questions delaying the arrival of an ambulance.

In 2013, a report revealed that at least three people may have died after being given the wrong advice by operators of the helpline.

The non-emergency helpline disputes the claims stating that that 96.3 per cent of calls were answered within 60 seconds, and that satisfaction rates have gone up from 86 per cent last year, to 90 per cent this year.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "With a million calls a month, NHS 111 is helping the NHS deal with growing demand by directing people to the most appropriate place for their injury or illness."

Some of the weirder calls to NHS 111

  • 7 people called about athlete's foot.
  • 2,733 about constipation.
  • 525 about an object stuck in their ear or nose.
  • 217 people called about genital injuries.
  • 99 people called about human bites.
  • 582 about failed contraception.
  • 169 called about sexual problems.
  • 2,766 people called about genital injuries or problems.