HUDDERSFIELD patients were among the huge numbers turning to the net for help this Christmas, says NHS Direct.

A third more people than last year logged on to the website for advice on their symptoms over the festive period, it was revealed today.

Calls to the 24-hour helpline were down 15% compared with the same period last year.

Tummy ache, sickness and sore throats were among the most common illnesses reported. The number of people complaining of chest pain was down.

For the first time there was an increase in calls from people with coughs and toothache.

Dr Mike Sadler, chief operating officer for NHS Direct, said: "We have answered nearly 250,000 phone calls over the past ten days.

"There have been even more visits to our website and our digital TV service is now available in most homes.

"By any measure, that's a lot of people helped.

"Feedback from our patients shows that they appreciate the service, which is available 24/7 and is an essential part of the modern health economy."

The busiest days for calls were December 23 and 30, with almost 35,000 calls each day.