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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 12:54 GMT
Stomach pain leads calls to NHS
NHS Direct
The service received seven million calls last year
Stomach and jaw pain dominated calls to NHS Direct, the health service's telephone helpline, over Christmas, statistics show.

Vomiting, toothache and diarrhoea were also among the top 10 reasons for calling the helpline in England.

Last year as a whole, the service received around seven million calls.

Over the Christmas period, it took a quarter of a million calls, while the busiest day was 30 December, when there were nearly 35,000 calls.

In addition, more than 30,000 calls were also received on 23 December, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, NHS Direct said.

Overall use of the helpline rose 2% compared with 2005.

Figures also show that traffic to the NHS Direct website increased.

There were 13.5m users of the site in 2006, an increase of around 45% from 2005.

Topics which were most commonly searched for over the Christmas and New Year periods were chicken pox, information on walk-in centres, chest infection and food poisoning.

Dr Mike Sadler, chief operating officer of NHS Direct, which is now also available on Freeview, said: "We want to do is make the service universally available."

The top 10 reasons for calling NHS Direct over Christmas were:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dental/tooth or jaw pain
  • Vomiting
  • Toothache
  • Sore throat
  • Ear ache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Cough (toddler)




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