WALES’ leading health advice and information website had the highest number of visits in 2020 since its creation.
A record 5.8 million visits were made to the NHS 111 Wales website last year, the largest proportion of which – 1.6 million – were made in March after the global pandemic had been declared.
The Covid-19 Symptom Checker remains the most visited page on the website.
Other popular search terms include headache, dentist and sexual health services.
Claire Roche, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing at the Welsh Ambulance Service, which runs the website, said: “The record number of visits proves how much of an appetite there is for health advice and information, especially in the current climate, and we’re pleased to be able to offer this service.
“The NHS 111 Wales website should be your first port of call when you’re ill or injured and are unsure what to do.
“If we can help patients with a less serious illness or injury online, then we’re preventing calls to 999 which may not always be appropriate.”
There are more than 30 symptom checkers on the website, from back pain and breathing difficulties, diarrhoea and dental pain, to falls and flatulence.
Users answer a series of questions which determine what to do next, whether that’s to self-care for symptoms at home, visit a pharmacist, consult a GP, call 111 for a telephone assessment or in extreme cases, call 999.
The website, previously known as NHS Direct Wales, also has a Local Services Search facility which allows users to look for their nearest dentist, minor injuries unit, pharmacy, GP, sexual health clinic and other services.
Other features include a Pregnancy and Baby Guide for new mums and mums-to-be, as well as a section on Sexual Health.
Claire added: “We’re continually looking at ways to improve the NHS 111 Wales website to make it as up-to-date, accessible and easy to navigate as possible.
“If you’ve used the website before and have some feedback, please take our Experience Survey to share your comments and help shape future services.”