Sheffield GPs are urging patients to have their say on out-of-hours healthcare in the city, following a reported 16% increase in calls to the NHS Direct 24-hour phoneline over the Christmas period.
According to figures released by NHS Direct, the helpline received 255,562 calls between 20 December 2008 and 1 January 2009 – an increase of more than 34,000 calls compared with the same period in 2007-2008.
Paul Wike, lead manager of the Central Sheffield GP Consortium, said: “With the recent influx of cold and flu outbreaks, as well as the winter vomiting bug, a lot more people have been seeking out-of-hours healthcare.
“Sheffield has a range of out-of-hours services available, from walk-in clinics at the Hallamshire Hospital to a 24-hour phoneline and we want to hear what the public think of them.”
The consortium has launched an online survey asking patients for their views and experiences of out of hours services in Sheffield, including waiting times and the quality of access and treatment.
Paul added: “The results of the survey will be used to improve out-of-hours services and care in Sheffield.”
The Central Sheffield GP Consortium, which was launched in August 2006, brings GP practices together to develop innovative solutions to improve the quality and delivery of medical services within the community.
Its website will feature regular surveys on a variety of different aspects of healthcare, allowing patients to have their say and influence the way healthcare services are provided in Sheffield.