News

Public encouraged to stay informed on coronavirus

Published: 04 Mar 2020 13:00

First Minister visits NHS 24 contact centre.

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.

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.”

Background

NHS 24 is the national provider of digital and telephone based health and care services for Scotland.

Updates on public health advice for coronavirus can be found on the NHS Inform website, and a free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

The helpline is open:
• Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 10.00pm
• Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2pm each day on the Scottish Government website.

Common symptoms of coronavirus can include:
• high temperature or fever
• cough
• shortness of breath

For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel. Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated.