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GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire) (Read 316,326 times)
Golf_Paul
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #135 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:14am
 
I think I know what 084 numbers are, but what are 085 numbers referred to in the 'regional' and 'local' links above?

Looks like someone is losing the plot, and I fear it may be me!

Undecided  Undecided
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catj
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #136 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:24am
 
The phrase started off as "0844 and 085 numbers" in a previous discussion months ago.

At that point, 085 was an obvious typo for 0845.

The reference to "0844 numbers" has since morphed into a reference to "084 numbers" to cover all such numbers, and the incorrect 085 reference appears to have simply come along for the ride.
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« Last Edit: Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:25am by catj »  
 
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #137 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:29am
 
Golf_Paul wrote on Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:14am:
I think I know what 084 numbers are, but what are 085 numbers referred to in the 'regional' and 'local' links above?

Looks like someone is losing the plot, and I fear it may be me!


This was a slip by Bob Ainsworth - he meant to say 0844 and 0845. His remarks were recorded verbatim by the Hansard writer and have been quoted. I did consider suggesting to Bob's office that Hansard be corrected, however I have been chasing bigger issues. If someone wants to take this up with Bob quickly, it may not be too late.

It is annoying and frustrating, however there are sufficient other comments in the debate for this slip not to have any serious bearing on the issue.
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Golf_Paul
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #138 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 8:10pm
 
catj & SCV ...

Thanks for your replies and for confirming that it was a 'typo' and a 'slip' which started this confusion.

In my opinion some of these people need a good hard kick up the derriere  Angry


Now please send three-and-fourpence, I'm going to a dance  Smiley

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Dave
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #139 - Feb 1st, 2012 at 12:11am
 
There is a posting on Portishead People website about doctors still using 0844 numbers:

http://www.portisheadpeople.co.uk/discussions/0844-number-Doctors-surgery-Does-s...
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Dave
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #140 - Feb 4th, 2012 at 10:32am
 
Which? has started another Conversation:

Is your GP still using an expensive phone number?


Coventry City Council's Health Scrutiny Board is to look at expensive call charges for ringing some GP surgeries as this report from the Coventry Telegraph explains:

Coventry patients paying a high price to call their doctor
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #141 - Feb 6th, 2012 at 8:31pm
 
I draw the following off-topic comments from another thread here, in order to reply.

NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 6th, 2012 at 6:19pm:
loddon wrote on Feb 6th, 2012 at 2:06pm:
NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 5th, 2012 at 4:56pm:
I would note that all GPs do actually offer a way to make appointments and request prescription renewals online free of charge for anyone who can use the internet so arguably anyone who has set this up does not need to call their GP on the phone at all.

My own GP practice have had 0844 since 2006 and have never allowed patients to make appointments on-line, although they do allow repeat prescriptions on-line.    It is necessary to either call or visit in order to make an appointment.   I believe many other GPs follow a similar policy.

My mother's GP surgery uses a normal geographic number for all patient contact (it never stopped doing so but is a surgery with four GPs serving a community of 5,000 or so patients) and does allow appointments to be booked online.  This suggests to me that the 0844 GP cowboys deliberately prevent patients booking appointments online (even though the NHS IT platform for GPs provides the facility) in order to maximise their revenue share earnings (blocking online surgery bookings is no doubt required under the terms of the GP contract with NEG and fellow telecoms highway robbery merchants).

This seems to be a new angle that none of you have previously pursued that could be profitably followed up as a complaint with local PCTs and/or with ministers and interested MPs and also with journalists.  It seems quite shocking that these surgeries are preventing patients booking appointments when it suits them by the means that suits them in order to further prop up telecoms revenue share racketeering that is already suppose to be banned. Angry Angry Angry

sherbert wrote on Feb 6th, 2012 at 6:31pm:
My surgery http://www.holbrooksurgery.com/ which unfortunately still has a 0844 number actually does let you book appointments on line

If there were evidence, in the form of contractual conditions from 084 providers or a indication that provision of on-line contact was significantly less amongst those using 084 numbers, then this could be a point to add to the argument for the need for compliance with the existing requirements on GPs to be enforced. I am not sure that this would tip the balance, but it may be an angle worth pursuing, if someone is able to collect the evidence.


I am very reluctant to go down this road, because there are many who argue that anything which diminishes the impact of the use of 084 number can be a reason for not enforcing the existing contractual terms. Publication of an alternative geographic rate number and offering some form of "call back" arrangement are already used as reasons for continuing use of a 084 number to be acceptable. I do not want to add provision of on-line access to certain functions as another reason for inaction.

The lack of on-line access may strengthen the argument for enforcement. There is however the danger that if this point is presented as being significant, then where on-line access is provided, this will weaken the argument for enforcement.


The terms of the requirement are very simple and unqualified, albeit that they fail to identify the current situation in respect of all 084 numbers. Potentially spurious additional issues are added to the argument, e.g. a suggestion that the issue is about the difference between landlines and mobiles. Whilst these can help to add weight, they can lead to false assumptions, e.g. that landline callers do not pay a premium to call 084 numbers. This masks the powerful argument against all 0844 numbers - subscribers to the most widely-used landline tariff, BT Unlimited Anytime, invariably pay a premium to call these numbers.

Sadly, there is no similarly powerful argument in respect of 0845 numbers, so even this can be used to imply that 0845 numbers are OK. It is for this reason that I always aim to focus on the main point, deploying additional issues with care.


If someone would like to obtain or assemble the evidence to support the argument proposed, I would not oppose it per se. I would however do all I could to ensure that it did not distort the essential point, which is that (so far as I am aware) there is no case where a NHS GP may still be using a 084 number.
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Barbara
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #142 - Feb 7th, 2012 at 5:22pm
 
Just to clarify a point, our GP uses a geo no & provides online access for appointments and repeat prescriptions BUT the appt facility is only for advance appts eg next week onwards, not for emergency or current week appts; if this is the case with others, then an online option could not be argued to be a valid alternative for those using 084 numbers as it would not offer the same options.  I hope that's clear, I know what I mean but am not sure I've explained it well.  Am sure soneone will clarify if necessary.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #143 - Feb 7th, 2012 at 6:33pm
 
Barbara wrote on Feb 7th, 2012 at 5:22pm:
Just to clarify a point, our GP uses a geo no & provides online access for appointments and repeat prescriptions BUT the appt facility is only for advance appts eg next week onwards, not for emergency or current week appts; if this is the case with others, then an online option could not be argued to be a valid alternative for those using 084 numbers as it would not offer the same options.  I hope that's clear, I know what I mean but am not sure I've explained it well.  Am sure soneone will clarify if necessary.

I see no great need to get into points of detail and examples. There will always be situations where a patient will need to talk to their GP practice by telephone. I cannot think of any way of disputing this point. For the NHS, that cannot be a chargeable service, no matter what alternative means of contact or other services there may be. It is a fundamental feature of a General (Medical) Practice.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #144 - Feb 21st, 2012 at 11:20am
 
I feel the need for a new thread, but will continue here.

I have written to Simon Burns in response to his comments in the debate on 24th January.

A briefing and media release covering the message is published at http://tiny.cc/MR120221.
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« Last Edit: Feb 21st, 2012 at 11:21am by SilentCallsVictim »  
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Dave
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #145 - Feb 24th, 2012 at 12:00pm
 
DH published yesterday "further guidance" on this matter:

The use of 084 numbers in the NHS: Further guidance

From what I can see, it adds that:

Quote:
…It is also worth noting that the Regulations and 2010 Directions relate to calls to the practice and these do not necessarily need to be made only by patients. This does not mean that all calls to GP practices and NHS bodies must be charged at the same rate as an Ofcom-regulated call from a BT landline.

The first sentence clarifies that it is not just patients who should not pay more.

The second sentence is somewhat bizarre. The price controls on BT which controlled its geographic call rates were removed in August 2006. The only regulated BT call charges that are of interest here are those of 084x numbers.


I'm not sure that there is anything else that hasn't been aired before.
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« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2012 at 12:42pm by Dave »  
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Keith
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #146 - Feb 24th, 2012 at 12:36pm
 
Does anyone have a clue as to what the 2nd sentence means?
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catj
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #147 - Feb 24th, 2012 at 3:58pm
 
Quote:
This does not mean that all calls to GP practices and NHS bodies must be charged at the same rate as an Ofcom-regulated call from a BT landline.

It appears to be further obfuscation of the details designed to confuse the reader, and allows GPs to attempt to fob people off by quoting something that appears at first glance to negate some of the complaints about the usage of 0844 numbers.

It actually means that "for whatever telephone number the GP advertises, when people call it from a mobile phone or from a landline other than BT, the GP doesn't have to ensure that those calls cost the same amount of money as had that call been made from a BT landline".

But that isn't the argument against the usage of 0844 numbers by GPs.

The argument is that calls to an 0844 number almost always cost more than the same call would have cost to an 01/02/03 number when called:
* from a landline that has bundled inclusive landline minutes,
* from a landline that pays a pence-per-minute rate for calls,
* from a mobile that has bundled inclusive landline minutes,
* from a mobile that pays a pence-per-minute rate for calls.

In almost all cases, whatever call plan they have and wherever they call from, patients are paying more to call a GP that uses an 0844 number than they would have paid to call a GP using an 01/02/03 number.

GPs may try to use the new wording to tell you "of course calling an 0844 number from a mobile costs more than calling an 0844 number from a landline - the NHS regulations specifically mention it; tough luck".

Your answer should be "0844 numbers almost always cost more to call than 01/02/03 numbers, however you call them. THAT is the point and it means you're still in breach of the regs by using an 0844 number."

The NHS guidance is that calls to GPs should cost no more than when calling an 01 or 02 number. To comply with that edict, GPs should NOT be using numbers that begin 084 or 087. Specifically, GPs should use only numbers beginning 01/02/03.
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« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2012 at 5:09pm by catj »  
 
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Keith
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #148 - Feb 24th, 2012 at 5:10pm
 
I have to say that when you read the whole document it is 100% clear that it is impossible for a GP to use an 0844 number and stay within the rules. Doesn't seem to have stopped though.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Reply #149 - Feb 24th, 2012 at 5:26pm
 
Apologies at coming late to this most recent discussion - I am no longer receiving email notifications of postings - it seems to switch on and off at a whim, without me doing anything.

I issued a media release on the Further Guidance earlier today having issued a briefing to all relevant NHS Chief Executives early this morning.

There are a number of typos and ill drafted phrases in the Guidance draft, some of which I have drawn to the attention of the authors. I have addressed the point about the odd reference to the Ofcom regulated BT cost - however this is not as significant as some may fear, as the main point is made many times over.

What this may do is provide PCTs with the opportunity to revise their policy against that advocated and advised by the BMA.


As a PS to the above.

The BMA has already starting kicking up - see this piece (and the comment I have added).
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« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2012 at 7:12pm by SilentCallsVictim »  
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