NHS Lothian has today announced the launch of a new Community Hub to help reduce pressures on GP practices and hospitals amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Hub, which is part of a national approach, will be staffed by a mixture of nurses and doctors. The Hub will handle calls with members of the public, triaged initially through NHS 24’s 111 phone line, who may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and who may need further assessment and advice.
As well as providing information and reassurance, The Hub service will facilitate face to face scheduled appointments for those individuals who may need further clinical assessment, but who do not need emergency care.
David Small, Director of Primary Care Transformation, NHS Lothian said “For many weeks now, we have been working hard to increase capacity across our services.
“The launch of the new Community Hub will help ease some of the pressure that both GP practices and NHS24 have been experiencing as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“At one Lothian GP practice alone, we experienced over 150 extra calls in a single day from patients worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). The Hub will help to better manage this demand, providing information, advice and clinical assessment, meaning that both GP and hospital resources can focus on managing patients with other conditions.
“In what is no doubt a challenging and unsettling time for many, I hope that by sharing these plans, it will offer some reassurance.”
The public should continue to use NHS Inform for information and advice, and to call NHS24 (111) if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) which are not improving. Calls will be triaged to the Community Hub if they require more specialist advice.
To stay up to date with the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) advice, visit NHS Inform: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
A free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice. This can be accessed by calling 0800 028 2816. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8:00am –10:00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am – 6:00pm.