TV PRANKSTER Dom Joly has swapped his “I’m on the phone” catchphrase for “call 111” in support of a new campaign launched today by the NHS in Sussex.

The “not QUITE an emergency” drive aims to raise public awareness of when to use the free, 24-hour 111 helpline this winter.

Best known for his giant-phone-carrying character from his Channel 4 show Trigger Happy TV, Joly used his trademark pranking style of comedy and an undercover crew for the short film.

Shot in town, village and city centre locations across the county, including Brighton and Hove, the film shows a heavily disguised Joly blighted by various minor ailments that he refuses to accept aren’t worthy of being considered a medical emergency.

Hidden cameras capture him seeking support from unsuspecting passers-by, before pretend paramedics arrive on the scene and NHS staff dressed as giant blue 1s appear in the background.

Joly said: “We used real-life examples of non-emergency conditions people have gone to A&E or called 999 for – a toothache, a blister, an insect bite and even a hangover.

“While it was obvious the people I spoke to didn’t think my plight was a 999 emergency, hardly anyone suggested calling 111 instead.

"One chap even suggested calling 999 to find out the right number to call – he knew a non-emergency NHS number existed but couldn’t remember what it was.”

National research carried out for the NHS has revealed low public awareness of NHS 111 across the country. Just 12 per cent of adults were found to have a spontaneous awareness of the helpline, 35 per cent have never heard of it and only 19 per cent thought they knew a fair amount or a lot about what the service offered.

Brighton and Hove chief clinical officer Christa Beesley said: “Last winter, local research found that patients waiting in A&E departments with minor conditions didn’t want to be in hospital and felt they shouldn’t be there – but they didn’t know who else to turn to when their GP surgery was closed or unable to offer them an immediate appointment.

“Those who had heard of NHS 111 were unclear on how it can refer people on to alternatives to A&E, such as walk-in clinics, pharmacies and out-of-hours GP services.

“We know that one in three visits to local A&E are for conditions that could be dealt with outside hospital. With Dom Joly’s help, our ‘not QUITE an emergency’ campaign has been designed to reach out to local people this winter.”