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News | 26th March 2020
 

Health helpline set up to manage more demand

 
 
 

NHS24 opens dedicated service as a response to virus crisis

AN ADVICE line, supported by NHS24, has been launched to address all COVID-19
patient enquiries.
This new service on 0800 028 2816 is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in
Scotland.
It is part of a national approach to manage the increasing
demand for emergency departments, GP services and out-of-hours services.
Demand is expected to rise in the coming weeks as a result of the COVID-19 situation.
In the first instance, anyone experiencing mild to moderate symptoms should look at the information on COVID-19 on the NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.
Anyone experiencing worsening symptoms should speak to NHS24 on 111.
Anyone considered by NHS24 as needing further assessment will be triaged to the local hub where a clinician will phone them back to discuss their symptoms and agree next steps.
Anyone with non-COVID-19 related symptoms should contact their GP practice by phone as normal.
On Tuesday the Scottish
government revealed that
Dumfries and Galloway had recorded 26 positive cases, while in the Scottish Borders it was 12.
In Scotland 9,968 tests had been carried out and, of those, 9,384 were negative and 584 were positive. Of those positive cases, 16 had died.
Dr Kenneth Donaldson, NHS Dumfries & Galloway medical director, said: “Identifying coronavirus cases allows us to take steps to isolate and slow the spread of the virus.
“It is important to remember that for most people, who become infected, this will be a mild illness but preparations are in place to ensure medical support when it’s needed.”
Current advice stresses the need to ensure good hygiene, regularly cleaning hands and using disposable tissues for coughs and sneezes.
It also directs people not to enter public areas such as GP practices if they feel there is a risk they may have been
exposed to coronavirus.
Instead, they are asked to go home and either call their GP or the new NHS Inform number dedicated to COVID-19.
NHS Dumfries & Galloway has suspended all visiting times for inpatient wards in all
hospitals.
Visiting will continue in specific circumstances such as patients receiving end-of-life care or those accompanying partners during childbirth.
Impact
Dr Donaldson said: “We understand that suspending visiting will have an impact on families and patients and not being able to visit family members while in hospital may be upsetting.
“We hope they understand that we have made this very difficult decision in the best
interests of our patients.
“We remind everyone coming into hospital to follow hand-hygiene and hand-washing advice and not to visit hospitals if they have any flu-like symptoms, a cough, a fever or a cold generally feel unwell.”
The dental practice in Langholm is closed until further notice but for emergencies ring the Annan practice on 01461 202508.
NHS Borders has suspended all visiting to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect patients and staff.
Strain
Nicky Berry, director of nursing, midwifery, AHPs and acute services said: “We recognise that being unable to visit loved ones places considerable emotional strain on family members and carers.
“Given the current circumstances, it is the right thing to do and we ask people to respect and comply with this very difficult decision.”
Suspended visiting applies except for the special care baby unit, labour ward, children’s ward and patients receiving end-of-life care.
Anybody visiting these areas, who suspects they have the virus or has come into contact with someone with COVID-19, should contact the nurse in charge before attending.
If you are permitted to visit, ensure you comply with hand-hygiene regulations and any instructions given by staff.
Information is on the board’s website and Facebook page.

 
 
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