Out-of-hours demand increases 60%

Demand for out-of-hours services increased by up to 60% in some areas over the festive season, says the NHS Alliance.

Photograph: iStockphoto/Matjaz Boncina
Photograph: iStockphoto/Matjaz Boncina

A survey of urgent care in England found that between the 19th and 21st of December, out-of-hours services saw an average increase in demand of 25%.

In the West Midlands, Saturday call volumes were 60% higher than the previous month and 26% higher than predicted.

The NHS helpline in Scotland, NHS 24, received one call every two seconds over the four days after Christmas. 

An NHS Alliance spokesman said primary care staff coped with the increased demand, caused mostly by a surge in flu or flu-like symptoms. 

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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