Patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms are now asked to dial NHS 24 on 111, day or night if their symptoms worsen or do not improve after seven days.
Scottish Government has said that this improvement provides patients with a straightforward dedicated route to clinical advice and support, as well as freeing up GP practices to treat and care for all non-COVID-19 health conditions.
Callers to the 111 helpline will be assessed and, if necessary, transferred to a local community hub staffed by clinicians from across the healthcare system to ensure patients get the best possible advice at the right time.
Depending on their assessment, patients may be given advice to help them continue self-isolating at home or be given an appointment to attend a local assessment centre for further treatment.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“This change means that anyone who has coronavirus symptoms and needs additional help or advice can now call the same number any time, day or night, seven days a week.
“As the number of people presenting with symptoms continues to grow, we must adapt to manage the daily growth in demand. As well as ensuring people are getting the right help at the right time, this step will also help ensure GP capacity to provide care for people in the community is protected and that only those cases that need to be admitted to hospital are admitted.”
NHS 24’s Director of Service Delivery Steph Phillips said:
“NHS 24 has been at the forefront of supporting Scotland’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, through the NHS Inform website, the special helpline and the 111 service. This change will make it easier for people who are concerned about their symptoms to get the help they need as quickly as possible. Please help us to help you.”