A new NHS 24 contact centre has opened in Dundee – allowing the service to help more people and further alleviate pressures on the rest of NHS and social care.
Funded by the Scottish Government, the new Dundee premises will help facilitate the increase in demand for the NHS 24 service which has been generated by the redesign of urgent care. This means that in non-life threatening situations, people should contact NHS 24 before attending Accident and Emergency or a Minor Injuries Unit.
With the demand from those becoming unwell with COVID-19, this has seen the 111 number move from an out-of-hours number to a round-the-clock service.
Around 140 staff will be in post in Dundee by the end of March, including call handlers, nurses, psychological mental health practitioners and mental health nurses.
Health Secretary Humza Yousa 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.”
NHS 24 Chief Executive Jim Miller said:
“NHS 24 has played a crucial role in Scotland’s response to the pandemic and our expansion in Dundee will ensure we are enable 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.”
The NHS 24 111 service provides urgent-care telephone advice day or night if you think you need A&E but it is not life threatening, as well as support when GP practices or dentist are closed.
Mental health support is provided 24/7 via the Mental Health Hub and through Breathing Space at evenings and weekends and help and advice can also be found at NHS inform