Calls to NHS Direct drop 6 per cent over Christmas

Telephone calls to NHS Direct fell by 6 per cent between 21 December and 1 January 2008, from 285,688 to 270,341.

Dental pain, vomiting, abdominal pain – in keeping with reports about the rise in Norovirus and other related viruses – were the most popular reasons for calls ahead of fever and respiratory tract symptoms. 

The busiest day for telephone calls was Saturday 29 December (30,096, the busiest day of the year) followed by Boxing Day (29,299). NHS Direct averages 22,000 calls a day. 

The most visited encyclopaedia topics on the website ( in the same period were flu, chickenpox, adult chest infection, irritable bowel syndrome and shingles. 

NHS Direct has a £150 million annual budget and employs over 3,000 staff, over 1,200 of which are trained nurses.

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