A NEW freephone number for NHS 24 will help protect the "founding principles" of the health service, the Scottish Government has claimed.

The medical advice line — which people can call for help when their GP surgery is closed — has changed its number to 111. The new number is free to call from both landline and mobile phones.

Health Secretary Alex Neil welcomed the change, saying: "I strongly believe that our NHS should be free at the point of care for all and this new number will help to protect these founding principles of the NHS."

Loading article content

A total of 1.5 million calls a year are made to NHS 24, with the service receiving up to 8,000 calls a day.