Jan 2011 newsletter news : Direct advice online

NHS Direct has developed a suite of online health and symptom checkers, available at www.nhs.uk/nhsdirect covering a whole range of topics including specific symptoms such as colds and flu and diarrhoea and vomiting, or more specialist advice on issues such as mental health. The colds and flu symptom checker is in high demand.

Don’t forget: if you have diabetes you are entitled to a free flu jab from your GP as having diabetes and flu would not be nice.

Dr Brian Gaffney, NHS Direct’s Medical Director, comments: “Winter is a really busy time for NHS Direct, and our online symptom checkers provide patients with another way of contacting us, making the service more flexible and easily accessible to more patients. Patients can be assured that they will receive the same quality of advice that they have come to expect from the telephone service when they access our services online.”

NHS Direct’s health and symptom checkers can provide self-care advice so that patients can treat their symptoms at home, or if necessary direct them to another health service. For those people who need further advice, they can click to get a call-back from an NHS Direct nurse advisor. The online symptom checkers have been developed in line with the same protocols used by NHS Direct’s telephone advisors so patients get the same advice whether they use the phone or the web.

NHS Direct’s telephone health information and advice line is still available. People who would prefer to speak to someone, have not got internet access or think a further discussion about their symptoms is needed can still call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 anytime day or night. At busy times patients with less urgent symptoms may have to wait for a call-back from a nurse advisor.

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