NHS 24 launches free helpline

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From today (Tuesday) people in Tayside will be able to call NHS 24 for free, simply by dialling 111.

The new and easy-to-remember telephone number was launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil and means that people throughout Scotland will no longer be charged when calling the national telehealth and telecare service from a landline or mobile.

NHS 24 will continue to deliver the same high quality service for anyone seeking advice and support within Tayside during the out of hours period when their GP surgery is closed.

Mr Neil said: “I strongly believe that our NHS should be free at the point of care for all, and this new number will help to protect these founding principles of the NHS.

“The new number is easy to remember, and free to call, which will ensure everyone across Scotland can access support and advice from NHS 24 whenever they need it. NHS 24 already provides a valuable service to patients across Scotland when their GP surgery is closed, and there will be absolutely no change to the high quality service provided through this new number.

“By introducing the 111 number we are removing any barrier for the public to access the health advice when their GP surgery is closed. This will help to ensure people have access to health information and support, including access to a GP, when they really need it.

“In Scotland, the 111 number will be run by NHS 24 as a public service, in public hands – serving the needs of patients.”