A new NHS 24 call centre has opened in Dundee to help ease pressure on struggling hospital A&E departments.
It is estimated the new health helpline base, at Caledonia House on Greenmarket near the city’s waterfront, could create up to 300 jobs, with 140 staff to be hired by March.
Adverts before Christmas urged Dundee residents to apply for vacancies such as mental health nurses and a wellbeing practitioner.
SNP health chief Humza Yousaf visited the call centre on Friday to thank hard-working staff at the official opening.
The Scottish Government is pleading with members of the public to call NHS 24 helplines for minor injuries before going to hospital.
Data shows the health service number received over 180,000 calls last month, with nearly 50,000 over the Hogmanay weekend.
Mr Yousaf said the NHS was facing its “toughest winter” ever as Covid cases surge and health staff self-isolate.
He said: “With the current system pressures, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the role of NHS 24 in giving support and advice to people who need it has never been more vital.
“I am extremely grateful for the contribution that NHS 24 staff have made during the pandemic and, particularly, during these difficult winter months.
“This new call centre facility in Dundee will allow NHS 24 to further expand their capacity – helping more people and better managing capacity throughout the rest of the healthcare system.”
I am delighted that Dundee will be home to a new call centre, which will help to alleviate pressures on the rest of the NHS.
– Joe FitzPatrick MSP
The helpline centre comes as part of a £20 million investment from government bosses into NHS24 this year.
Dundee West SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick said: “The efforts of all our NHS staff have been nothing short of heroic over the course of the pandemic.
“NHS 24 is fielding unprecedented call numbers and I am delighted that Dundee will be home to a new call centre, which will help to alleviate pressures on the rest of the NHS and social care.”
Meanwhile, Dundee East MSP Shona Robison said: “The Scottish Government is providing record funding for our NHS and continues to invest in Dundee, with these NHS 24 jobs on top of hundreds of new jobs based at Social Security Scotland’s headquarters at Dundee Waterfront.”
Great to pop in to @NHS24 new Dundee call centre and thank the brilliant staff there.
They may not always be seen on the front line but our NHS 24 team do a critical job in serving the public and help to alleviate pressure from other parts of the Health Service. Thank you! https://t.co/ciecIrmbea
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) January 14, 2022