Glasgow, Scotland, March 4, 2020 -- First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with staff supporting Scotland’s public information response to coronavirus (COVID-19) today, following the announcement of two additional positive test results in Scotland.
During a visit to NHS 24’s contact centre at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital today, the First Minister thanked NHS 24 staff, including nurses, call handlers and health information advisors operating the 111 service and a dedicated coronavirus helpline service, for their efforts to keep the public informed.
The helpline has been set up by NHS 24 for people who do not have symptoms and are looking for general information and advice on coronavirus.
More than 400 staff work at NHS 24’s Clydebank call centre, which is one of four main centres located across Scotland.
Monday 2 March was the busiest day to date for the coronavirus helpline with 584 calls recorded, up from 143 on Sunday, when the first positive case in Scotland was identified. On Tuesday there were 430 calls.
NHS Inform’s coronavirus page has registered 264,118 visits as of Tuesday, with 55,000 visits on Monday alone.
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The First Minister said:
"Our thoughts are with the two patients who have been newly diagnosed with coronavirus and their families, and I wish them all the best for their recovery.
"The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland are well-prepared to deal with a coronavirus outbreak, but the public also have a big role to play in helping us any contain any potential spread of coronavirus in Scotland for as long as possible.
"So I want to thank staff here for all their hard work to answer questions about coronavirus and keep the public informed.
"As the number of positive cases in Scotland increases, it is vital people stay up to date with the latest health and travel advice on NHS Inform, as well as following basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing."
NHS 24’s Director of Service Delivery Steph Philips said:
"Over the last 10 days we have received more than 3,000 calls on coronavirus to our helpline and those numbers are increasing, with over 500 calls to the 111 service since Friday in addition to the coronavirus helpline, and we saw another significant increase on Monday following the first positive case in Scotland.
"That’s why we’re asking people in Scotland to check NHS Inform online in the first instance, as it’s the quickest and easiest way to get the latest information if they have questions about travel risk or symptoms, as well as our self-help guide tool. NHS Inform is being updated with latest information for the Scottish public on a daily basis.
"In addition to the helpline, we’re also encouraging people to phone their GP during the day or call NHS 24 on 111 out of hours."
Common symptoms of coronavirus can include:
• high temperature or fever
• shortness of breath
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
NHS 24 is the name of a confidential health advice and information service provided by NHS Scotland. It is the equivalent to the NHS Direct scheme in England and NHS Direct Wales, allowing people who feel unwell or those caring for them to obtain advice if it is not convenient or possible to wait until they can visit their General Practitioner when the practice is next open. It is not intended as a substitute for obtaining an emergency ambulance service via 999.
Published: Friday, March 6, 2020
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