THE service has failed to recruit crucial frontline staff like nurses and an investigation has been launched in to why there are such high rates of sickness.
BOSSES at NHS 24 have warned that the service is under so much pressure that it’s unsustainable in its current state.
NHS 24 medical director Professor George Crooks said the service was suffering under the weight of staff shortages and absenteeism at a time when there was greater demand than ever.
The service, which handles out of hours calls for GP’s surgeries, has failed to recruit crucial frontline staff like nurses and an investigation has been launched in to why there are such high rates of sickness.
Call centres need another 33 medical staff, a 10 per cent shortfall when inquiries have soared by one fifth thanks to the new easy access helpline number 111.
New technology which should have eased the problem has been delayed by a year and costs have doubled to £52 million.
Minutes of a meeting presented to the NHS 24 board, said the service was currently sustainable and efficient but that it was in danger of cracking under the pressure and staff shortages.
Professor Crooks said there were “soft signs” that “the service and staff were at times under pressure which was not sustainable in the long term”.
He said staff “rapport” with callers may be suffering at times at quality of the record keeping could also drop.
The concerns come on the back of growing crisis in Scotland’s A&E departments.
Almost 35,000 Scottish patients had to wait more than four hours in Scotland’s under siege casualty departments in the last three months of last year.
More than 4,000 of them had to wait more than eight hours and a staggering 517 were stuck on hospital trolleys for more than 12 hours.
The figures released last month from the Information Services Division show Scotland’s accident and emergency departments are performing worse than at the same time the year before and are even worse than those under fire in England.
Only five Scottish health boards out of 14 hit their targets in each of the three months.