Giffnock Senior Charge Nurse shares experiences of working over festive period

Christmas is often a time to get together with loved ones, sharing gifts, and enjoying nice food and quality time.

For many of the staff at NHS 24 however, the festive period is their busiest time as they offer medical care and advice when GP practices are not available.

One of those working Christmas Day is Jim Cameron, a Senior Charge Nurse at NHS 24’s 111 service.

Jim, from Giffnock, tells us: “During my nursing career I’ve been off during the festive period only twice; once when one of my children arrived prematurely, and once when I was taken unwell myself, a couple of weeks before Christmas! It can be challenging working when everyone else is having fun, especially when leaving your family. But I do enjoy helping people who need our care and the upside is that everyone works together to make sure we are able to provide that care. There’s a fantastic team spirit.”

Last year almost 73,500 calls were made to the 111 and Breathing Space services over the eight day festive period (the bank holidays and the preceding weekends) while Scotland’s health information website, NHS inform received 1,121,844 unique page views.

NHS 24 has a range of specialist staff including call handlers, nurses, mental health advisors, pharmacists and dental nurses. These dedicated professionals work with colleagues across NHSScotland to ensure that care is available to those who need it, when they need it.

Jim says that while it can be hard to be away from family at Christmas, it’s good to know they are providing vital care: “Our services are there for when people need them, and that’s good to know. But nobody wants to have to call us, so I always recommend people have a few home remedies just in case illness tries to get in the way of any festive fun. And if anyone relies on repeat prescriptions they should check they have enough to last them over the break.”

People across Scotland can access medically assured health information via, where they can also use a range of self help guides to help them decide how to best manage their symptoms. NHS 24 provides the free phone 111 service which gives people access to the help and advice they need when it can’t wait until their GP surgery reopens.