Record calls to NHS 24 over festive period

ALMOST 50,000 people were helped by Scotland’s national health helpline over the New Year holiday period (January 1 to 4).

Latest figures show that NHS 24 received more than 48,300 calls over the four-day Hogmanay weekend. These figures show an increase on last year when around 38,000 calls were taken during the same period.

This followed the festive four-day break when the service dealt with more than 44,000 calls from patients across Scotland.

The busiest day of the New Year period was Monday, January 3, when more than 15,000 calls were received by the service. The service experienced the highest demand on Tuesday, December 28, when almost 1,900 calls were received in one hour between 9.15 and 10.15am.

Over the 12 days from Christmas Eve, until GP surgeries re-opened at 8am on January 5, NHS 24 staff dealt with 107,193 calls to the service, an increase of approximately 25 per cent on the same period the previous year.

NHS 24 Medical Director Dr George Crooks OBE said: “We have been extremely busy, as expected, over the Christmas and New Year period, taking calls from patients across the country when their GP surgeries were closed. We even had calls from patients on holiday in France, Russia and Australia during the last two weeks.

“We have been working in partnership with colleagues from across NHS Scotland, particularly the out of hours services and the Scottish Ambulance Service, and overall our service has coped extremely well with the demand. We would like to thank all of our staff for their dedication over what has been a record-breaking festive period for our service.

“With further wintry weather predicted this week, we are all aware that winter is still very much upon us and many of the calls we have taken during the last few weeks have related to coughs, colds and other seasonal illness which affect many people at this time of year.

“GP surgeries are now open as usual and we would also remind people that they can take a few simple steps to look after their own and their family’s health this winter. Minor illnesses can be treated at home and community pharmacies are also a good source of information and advice.”

You can also find more information at www.nhsinform.co.uk