Record number of NHS Direct calls over Christmas

A record number of people accessed NHS Direct's telephone and online services over the festive period, according to its figures.

NHS Direct's performance statistics reveal that more than 850,000 people accessed its telephone and online services between 19 December and 3 January.

The figures highlight that more than 330,000 telephone calls were answered, an 11,000 increase on levels over the same period last year.

Around 520,000 visits were made to NHS Direct's online services, including 100,000 visits to its online initiative assessment tools, launched just before Christmas with the aim of making it quicker for patients to contact the service over winter months.

NHS Direct also suggests that 60% of all callers were given advice on how to treat their symptoms at home without the need to attend another part of the NHS.

Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct, said: "They [NHS Direct] have been able to provide advice for many patients meaning they have not had to access face-to-face health services over this period, reducing demand on accident and emergency departments and GP surgeries."

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