AQW 8670/17-22 – Public Health Agency Telephone Services

Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health what telephone answering resources are available to the Public Health Agency. [Priority Written]

Minister of Health: PHA Reception can be contacted at 0300 555 0114 for Public Health Agency Headquarters and for all PHA sites apart from the Lisburn office, which can be contacted on 028 9266 5181. Call volumes to PHA Reception for the period 5 October to 11 October were 4,088 recieved calls.

The PHA Duty Room, whose role is to take calls from health professionals to deal with all public health outbreaks, including COVID-19 in care homes, schools and in the wider community operates from 9:00-17:00, followed by an out-of-hours on-call rota. The PHA Duty Room has 7 telephones, and 7 telephone lines – all with voicemail capability – for use during working hours. The out-of-hours on-call rota is managed by a single telephone. Approximately 1,000 calls per week are received by the PHA Duty Room.

If a call is made to the PHA Duty Room out-of-hours, a voicemail message informs the caller to contact Ambulance Control and to ask for the out-of-hours Public Health Doctor to be paged. The average number of calls to the out-of-hours Public Health Doctor at the weekend is 20 per day.