Doctors and nurses hope to cure Bieber fever in tussle for Christmas top spot
Doctors and nurses hoping to claim the Christmas number one title have begged Justin Bieber fans to stop listening to the pop-star's latest hit single.
The Canadian singer nudged ahead of the Greenwich and Lewisham NHS Choir in the race for the top spot, according to Official Charts Company sales figures at the halfway stage of the chart week.
But there is still hope for the NHS singers, who were behind by only 3,000 combined sales with their song A Bridge Over You, a mash-up of Coldplay's Fix You and Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel.
The NHS Choir leads the way on downloads, while Bieber's song Love Yourself powers ahead on streams.
Performing at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, singers and choir organisers urged Beliebers to stop buying or streaming Love Yourself.
Singer and paediatrician, Katie Rodgerson, pleaded with "teenage girls" to "stop streaming Bieber".
She added: "We've just got this image of someone saying 'NHS for Christmas number one' and all across the country people in hospital knowing that people are thinking about them and sending them a positive message. That would be amazing."
Joe Blunden, NHS communications manager, has put his own support of Bieber on hold until after Christmas.
He said: "I was a Bieber fan until this week. Cut out your Bieber fever just for this week and get behind the NHS. After Christmas you can get back to downloading and streaming Bieber.
"Put the NHS number in the charts, and also number one on the agenda."
The choir was launched in 2013 when it narrowly missed out on the Christmas number one. It is formed of doctors, nurses and even IT workers all from the Greenwich and Lewisham NHS Trust.
All proceeds from the song will be shared between healthcare charities, including Carers UK and Mind - with a percentage also being distributed to Samh (Scotland) and Niamh (Northern Ireland).
The choir members also encouraged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to buy the single in support of NHS workers and the charities.
Two other Christmas number one contenders are currently outside the top five.
The X Factor winner Louisa Johnson is at number six with her single Forever Young, while Stormzy's Shut Up is sitting at number eight.
Outside of the Top 40, the Star Wars theme by John Williams is at number 83 and Shakin' Stevens song Echoes Of Merry Christmas Everyone is at number 100.