A virtual community hub and an assessment centre have been set up in Fife to help cope with increasing demand from suspected coronavirus patients.
Anyone displaying symptoms of the virus will be given advice by clinicians over the phone and, if necessary, asked to attend the covid-19 assessment centre for treatment.
The move follows a week of tireless work by Fife Health and Social Care Partnership staff amid a sharp rise in the number of people testing positive for the illness.
Partnership director Nicky Connor said the new arrangement followed national guidance and aimed to provide communities with the best possible care.
“We realise these are unprecedented times and we need to work differently to ensure the safety of patients and staff,” she said.
“By following this guidance, we hope to reduce the impact on our services and provide a dedicated way to provide the right information and guidance to those in most urgent need.”
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirs which do not improve within seven days is still asked to call NHS 24 on 111 in the first instance.
An assessment will be made and callers will be transferred to the new community hub if appropriate.
Ms Connor added: “Our staff, from IT, facilities and admin to our heathcare professionals, have worked tirelessly over the past week to get these new area up and running.
“What has been achieved in such a short space of time has been amazing.
“It is humbling to see so many of our staff pulling out the stops to ensure our communities have the best possible care.”
NHS Fife director of nursing Helen Buchanan said the arrangements would help free up GP capacity to care for people in the community and to ensure only those who needed to be admitted to hospital were admitted.
Further information and guidance is available on the NHS Inform website.