More than 850,000 people used NHS Direct’s telephone and online services over the Christmas and New Year period.
Between 19 December and 3 January, some 330,000 telephone calls were answered – an increase of 11,000 on levels seen the previous year.
The majority of callers received advice on how they could treat their own symptoms, with 66% able to treat themselves at home.
Meanwhile some 520,000 visits were made to NHS Direct’s online services with 100,000 visits made to the website’s online initiative assessment tools, launched just before Christmas to enable patients to contact the service quicker during the winter months.
Chief executive of NHS Direct, Nick Chapman, 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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