call centre

Scotland expand NHS 24 to support non-emergency healthcare

The Scottish government have funded a new call centre in Dundee to cope with the rising demand on the NHS 24 service.

NHS 24 was designed to help alleviate the pressure off the NHS and social care by providing a service which offers information and self-care advice to people experiencing non-life-threatening situations.

The service received 182,000 calls during the month od December and 50,000 calls over Hogmanay weakened alone.

Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care said: “We are experiencing the toughest winter our health and social care system has ever faced. With the current system pressures, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the role of NHS24 in giving support and advice to people who need it has never been more vital.

“I am extremely grateful for the contribution that NHS 24 staff have made during the pandemic, and particularly during these difficult winter months. I would urge everyone to make use of these services, by calling 111 or visiting NHS Inform when needed. Highly trained staff will be happy to give advice and direct you to the best place if you need treatment.

“This new call centre facility in Dundee will allow NHS 24 to further expand their capacity – helping more people and better managing capacity throughout the rest of the healthcare system.

“To help make this possible the Scottish Government has invested more than £20 million additional funding for NHS 24 this year for extra recruitment, and this new facility. All of this builds on the work undertaken as part of our £300 million investment in health and care services as part of our winter preparations.”

The new call centre will employ 140 staff, including call handlers, nurses, psychological mental health practitioners and mental health nurses.

The 111 number had become a round-the-clock service rather than an out-of-hours number since Covid 19, NHS 24 helping to keep up with the demand.

Jim Miller, NHS 24 Chief Executive said: “NHS 24 has played a crucial role in Scotland’s response to the pandemic and our expansion in Dundee will ensure we are able to continue to provide high quality, safe and effective care to public in the    months and years ahead.

“Call handlers, nurses, psychological mental health practitioners and mental health nurses are already working in this key contact centre delivering care. I expect it to be at full capacity by the end of March.”

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