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NHS 24 staff praised after exceptionally busy festive period

By Ewan Malcolm

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OVER the four day festive weekend, 44,000 calls were made to the 111 service with 25 per cent of all calls related to Covid-19.

NHS 24 staff have been praised for their work over the festive period.
NHS 24 staff have been praised for their work over the festive period.

NHS 24 staff have been praised for their hard-work catering to the increased demand. Now, they are urging the public to prepare for the long Hogmanay weekend which will see GP practices closed on January 3 and 4.

NHS 24’s online information service, NHS inform, was also busy with two million page views across the four days. Covid content accounted for 1.2 million of those views and around 45,000 people completed the Covid self-help guide.

The Covid information-only helpline also saw heavy demand with over 3,000 calls on Monday and Tuesday - up 60 per cent on last year.

Medical Director Dr Laura Ryan said the weekend was challenging and that Covid related staff absences had inevitably affected the time it took for calls to be answered.

Dr Ryan said: "We knew our 111 service was going to be busy, even before the Omicron variant, but now we have the added challenge of staff affected by Covid, which means we've had less available people to answer calls.

"It has meant those who could work, had to work even harder to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. I'm exceptionally proud of everyone for their efforts over the festive weekend.

“We're now planning for the Hogmanay weekend, which we know will also be busy, so we are urging people to be prepared. GP practices are not open until Wednesday 5th January so people should pick up any regular medications they rely on.

"Home remedies such as simple pain relief, antihistamines or rehydration salts are a good idea and if you think you might need help or advice for simple health matters, please use NHS inform as your first port of call, including all matters related to Covid-19.

"You may get the answer you need there without having to wait in a queue. It's also important for people to remember that their local pharmacy is a great source of help for a wide range of conditions and many community pharmacies are open over the weekend. They can also help if you run out of your usual medicines.

"If you do need to call us please do be patient – our staff are working as hard as they can and they need your continued support to deliver the best service they can every time, all the time."

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