People in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are now able to call NHS 24 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 Greater Glasgow and Clyde 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.
“This is in complete contrast to the approach adopted by the NHS in England, where different organisations, including private sector providers, are contracted to provide the number in different regions.”
NHS 24 Chief Executive John Turner said: “By dialling 111, patients throughout Scotland will receive the same high quality, trusted service that NHS 24 has delivered for more than ten years. We will continue to work with our partners across Scotland to provide high quality support to patients and their families on the new number, which is easy to remember and free to call.”
“NHS 24 has been serving the people of Scotland for more than ten years now and the move to a freephone number represents the next stage in the development of the country’s provider of telehealth and telecare services.”