Scots are being urged to be prepared for seasonal illness ahead of the festive holidays as next weekend is expected to be NHS 24’s busiest.
A surge of people are expected to contact NHS 24 with calls for medical help and advice.
Over the Christmas holidays, GP practice and pharmacies will have different opening times, and the public are being encouraged to have ‘Healthy Know How’ and to download the new NHS 24 Online app.
Pauline Howie, director of service delivery at NHS 24, said: “Our automated telephone messaging system gives callers options of alternative routes to care, will advise how long the current wait is and an option to call later if not urgent. In the case of an emergency, callers will always be advised to dial 999.
“Another quick way to get access to information about symptoms, along with advice about medications, is via the NHS 24 online app.”
The new app offers patients another choice in how they find out about their symptoms with a virtual chatbot function to answer questions and get further advice for a range of issues including running out of medicine.
Ms Howie added: “NHS 24 staff continue to work tirelessly, with a commitment to deliver safe and effective services 24/7 and answer every call as quickly as possible.”
NHS 24’s advice is supported by the Scottish Government’s health secretary Humza Yousaf.
Speaking to STV News, he said: “We are just encouraging people to make sure that they’re taking precautions around their own health, particularly in the run up to the festive period.
“We know primary care GP practices, their opening hours maybe will be disrupted because of the public holidays that take place over Christmas and New Year.
“So you can do simple things. For example, if you’ve got any repeat prescriptions that you rely on, make sure you get them in good time. Make sure your medicine supply is adequate for the festive period, make sure you know the opening times of your pharmacist and GP.”
NHS 24 Online is available free for both Android and iOS devices.