Nearly 60,000 coronavirus calls to NHS 24 helpline

By Andrew Picken
BBC Scotland News

  • Published
The NHS 24 contact centre at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in GlasgowImage source, PA Media

NHS 24 has received nearly 60,000 calls during the lockdown from people worried they had coronavirus, new figures show.

Helpline staff referred 41,408 of those calls to a doctor, while the rest were given self-care advice.

NHS 24 has dealt with 30% more calls since 23 March, taking on hundreds of temporary staff to deal with demand.

This includes nurses, doctors and dentists redeployed from other parts of the NHS.

A separate hotline set-up to give people information about Covid-19 has received just under 40,000 calls since the country went into lockdown on 23 March.

A spokeswoman for NHS 24 said the service "has been exceptionally busy across both its telephone and web based services".

She added: "Additional staff have been recruited to help meet demand.

"This includes 247 temporary call operators and additional clinical support which includes nurses, doctors and dentists.

"Since the start of the lockdown period almost 60,000 calls were made to NHS 24's 111 service with concerns about symptoms. Of these calls almost 17,000 were given self-care advice."

Coronavirus street art
Getty Images
The coronavirus calls to NHS 24 since March 23

  • 41,408Referred to a doctor for further help

  • 16,966Given self-care advice

    Source: NHS 24

    Where people had one or more symptoms of coronavirus, or who had increased risk of deterioration, they were referred to their local community hub for further assessment by a doctor.

    Those with more serious symptoms were given a higher priority.

    Surge in demand

    A total of 58,374 calls to NHS 24 between 23 March and 26 April were from people with concerns about Covid-19.

    During April NHS 24 was dealing with an average of 5,730 calls a day, 30% more than the average in the same month last year.

    The 247 temporary call operators include 52 people redeployed from other areas of NHS 24.

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