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NHS 24 warns of call delays over high festive demand

NHS 24 is urging people to treat common illness at home as it faces its busiest period over the festive season.

Helpline bosses have warned that it will take longer to answer calls as the service faces staffing pressures and increased demand caused by Covid.

It expects 170,000 calls over Christmas and New year - including two four-day weekends with GP surgeries closed.

The public have been advised to use the NHS Inform website to check symptoms before phoning NHS 24.

Janice Houston, NHS 24 associate director of operations and nursing, said the spread of Omicron had left the service "missing key staff" with people required to self-isolate.

"This year is exceptional and particularly busy," she said.

"We plan within an inch of our life for our busiest period, so I would just ask the public to be patient with us.

"We need to re-plan depending on who can't come to work from self-isolating. It might take a bit longer to answer the phone, but you will always get good care."

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Source: BBC News, 24 December 2021


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