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Message started by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 19th, 2011 at 11:52pm

Title: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 19th, 2011 at 11:52pm
A feature on BBC Radio Sheffield on Tuesday morning covered the story of local GPs topping the national league table for expensive telephone numbers.

Listen to a recording of the Radio Sheffield coverage
  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:25 Interview with campaigner Dave Lindsay
  • 3:48 Vox pop from the people of Sheffield
  • 5:00 Promotion of saynoto0870.com by "Bob from Chapeltown"

View the list of South Yorkshire surgeries    /     View the whole league table

- and also use other features on the listing:
  • follow a link to " add your views" to the surgery entry on NHS Choices.
  • follow a link to send an email to the MP

The Yorkshire Post also covered the story.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Apr 23rd, 2011 at 9:08pm
There is a recent posting in the Which? blog about this:

http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/gps-using-expensive-0844-phone-numbers/

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Apr 26th, 2011 at 5:11pm
This story is in today's edition of The Star, South Yorkshire's evening newspaper, and it appears on page 4:

GP surgeries are still using premium rate dialling codes

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 27th, 2011 at 6:10pm
Yet more fame and recognition for SayNoTo0870 and its campaign founder.

From the lunchtime edition of BBC TV Look North - http://tinyurl.com/dhtiny/tele?44.

Local followers may see more in the extended 6.30 edition!

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other COUNTRIES)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 29th, 2011 at 5:59pm
The situation with the GP contract is identical in Wales, even though Health is totally devolved matter.

Noting this piece in a South Wales newspaper, I have added a further blog entry - "GIG Bwrddau Lechyd ..." including a listing by "NHS Health Boards in Wales" (to translate) of all GPs in breach of their contracts.

If any cyfieithydd Cymraeg would like to help, please get in touch - e.g. does the phrase "ddim yn y man o angen" resound in the valleys?

"Our NHS" belongs to all UK citizens, even though the governments which arise from our national and local parliaments and assemblies manage it for us through the personnel which they appoint.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 29th, 2011 at 6:01pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 27th, 2011 at 6:10pm:
Yet more fame and recognition for SayNoTo0870 and its campaign founder.

From the lunchtime edition of BBC TV Look North - http://tinyurl.com/dhtiny/tele?44.

Local followers may see more in the extended 6.30 edition!

The extract is now updated to show the (slightly extended) 6.30 edition.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Apr 29th, 2011 at 7:46pm
From Rotherham Advertiser:

http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/89311/rotherham-doctors-accused-over-phone-rip-off-.aspx


Quote:
A spokeswoman for NHS Rotherham said: “The majority of our practices use the 0844 numbers or a local number.

“Calls to 0844 numbers are charged at the same rate as a local call when dialed from a landline.

“The remaining three practices use a different telephone system provided by Network Europe Group that begin with 0845.

“NEG have confirmed that patients telephoning these practices are charged no more than the equivalent cost of a call to a geographical number.”

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 1st, 2011 at 6:27am
Local and national media coverage of this issue, since the 1 April deadline, is growing nicely and more is expected. Some of it has been discussed in this thread.

To help those who wish to follow the developing story, I have assembled a news feed for this specific topic, excluding my own published contributions which are seen in my general topic feed. The feed content is available to view by following this link. One may also "subscribe" (no charge) to receive updates as items are added, either by email or through a "feed viewer".

Members may wish to discuss these items in this forum, or simply draw attention to them for the benefit of those who use the forum as a "news digest".

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jun 9th, 2011 at 11:03am
A new interactive map of charging GPs right across the UK has been drawn up. This blogging explains it, as well as the inner-workings of 084 numbers and why they contravene the NHS' policy of free at the point of need:

http://nhspatient.blogspot.com/2011/06/nhs-gps-using-expensive-telephone.html

Title: More silly silly lies about 0844 GP call charges
Post by Dave on Jun 23rd, 2011 at 9:04am
Source: South Wales Evening Post

Assurance on GP phone rates


Quote:
Some patients feared their bills would rocket, as 0844 numbers from a mobile phone can cost between 12p and 41p a minute.

But the telephone provider has confirmed the costs of calls are being kept low.

A spokesman for Network Europe Group, which provides the number to the Adfer group, said: "The 084 numbers are allowed to be continued as long as patients don't end up paying more than calling a local geographical number.

"In order to comply with regulations, the surgery has to obtain a letter from its service provider to show that the rate at which the number is set costs no more than calling a local number.

You would have thought that these people were intelligent enough to work out that such a letter is worthless as patients' call rates are set by their own providers. A quick look at just a few such tariffs shows that patients do pay more.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Heinz on Jun 24th, 2011 at 5:15pm
But it's an NEG text, you don't expect it to be truthful, do you?

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 24th, 2011 at 6:03pm

Heinz wrote on Jun 24th, 2011 at 5:15pm:
But it's an NEG text, you don't expect it to be truthful, do you?

Sadly it is the BMA advice to members.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jun 24th, 2011 at 8:52pm
A story published by the Ongar Gazette today:

084 number costs some BT callers 13p a minute

A HEALTH centre is being accused of charging patients premium rates to call its phone number.

Patients using the Ongar Health Centre have complained they are being charged more than the cost of a standard call when calling the surgery.



Comment from a senior partner at the surgery:

However, Doctor Hugh Taylor, a senior partner at the surgery, said patients were being "penalised" by their phone providers, not the surgery.

"The difficulty is that people who sign up with alternative contracts get penalised by their phone companies for phoning an 084 number, when they should not be," he said.


Patients are being "penalised" by their phone companies!?  ::)

What is he on about? Retailers that sell products tend to pass on their wholesale cost to customers. Things that cost more at a wholesale level also cost more at retail level. Or does he not understand this principle?


He then went on to say "We are charging a good rate for people who are on a fixed BT land line."

For starters, the surgery doesn't make the charge, the surgery's telephone provider doesn't make the charge, it is each individual patient's telephone company that charges. Even where that provider is BT, it is still BT that bills the caller.

As a campaigner for fair telecoms, I deplore that any organisation (as receiver of calls) should seek to influence the choices of callers as many 084x number users do, what with "local rate" et al.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 26th, 2011 at 8:54pm

Dave wrote on Jun 24th, 2011 at 8:52pm:
As a campaigner for fair telecoms, I deplore that any organisation (as receiver of calls) should seek to influence the choices of callers as many 084x number users do, what with "local rate" et al.

I see it as perfectly fair for users of business and premium rate numbers to seek to influence the choice of callers by soliciting calls, or even suggesting alternative means of contact for those who are unhappy to pay the "service charge". I cannot see how one may object to that in principle, on grounds of fairness.

Material misrepresentation of call costs, and on other points, is however a totally different matter, which must be deplored from all quarters. That is simply wrong, regardless of any consideration of what may or may not be "fair".


For Dr Taylor to state that "we are charging a good rate" is a complete misrepresentation of the reality of the situation. Neither Dr Taylor nor any agent of the practice is responsible for setting the charges that telephone callers pay. (The only exception may be Talk Talk, Dr Taylor's own telephone service provider, who he claims to be "penalising" his patients by offering call inclusive packages.)

Dr Taylor is entitled to suggest that the subsidy he earns should not be paid for by callers to the surgery. This is however only his opinion and he fails to suggest what alternative source of funding should be used and how this could be reflected in the terms of the type of alternative telephone calls package which he argues should be used. Some may agree and this matter could be debated at length, however it is totally irrelevant to the matter in hand which relates to the situation which exists in fact. Ofcom is in fact moving in the opposite direction to that proposed by Dr Taylor as it proposes to remove BT's obligation to cross-subsidise the cost of calls to all NTS numbers and to make the "service charge" element of call costs more transparent.

In making his argument Dr Taylor is out of step with the BMA, which proposes that patients should indeed provide this subsidy, if it is being used to provide a higher quality service to patients. This proposal was however rejected when the contract revisions covering use of 084 numbers by NHS GPs were agreed. In response, the BMA now encourages its members to achieve its policy objectives by deceit - pretending that no additional cost is incurred by callers, despite the fact that this is demonstrably untrue and acknowledged by Dr Taylor.

Dr Taylor has totally missed the point by suggesting that his contract only covers those cases where the relative cost of a call to the surgery, as against that of an equivalent call to a geographic number, is set by GPs themselves. Despite his attempt to pretend otherwise, there are no such cases, and that is not what is specified in the terms of his contract with the NHS. His contract explicitly requires him to have regard to "the arrangement as whole", not just some alternative contract options.


This is one of a number of cases involving the North Essex PCT cluster which are receiving attention at present. It will be interesting to see if perhaps there could be a positive outcome. (If anyone reading this message is involved as a patient in another case, please get in touch.)

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Barbara on Jun 27th, 2011 at 2:04pm
There have been many posts about GPs etc misrepresenting the costs paid by their patients to 084X numbers and this is rightly deplored BUT is anyone pointing out these "errors" to the GPs that they are, in fact, wrong, misleading and misrepresenting call costs to their patients and also being in breach of DOH regulations?  In asking this, I'm not trying to pass a big job onto someone else on the forum but surely it would be a great idea if, rather than just rehearsing the arguments and scandal of this among ourselves, there was perhaps something prepared which any of us using the forum could pass on to these GP surgeries & other NHS bodies when we find they are in breach?  I suggest something be prepared because I think it would have more impact if the wording and aspects emphasised was always identical, I know we can refer to various blogs & documents etc but just something brief & to the point, particularly if it came from several people saying exactly the same thing ie some kind of concerted campaign - what does anyone else think?

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by loddon on Jun 27th, 2011 at 2:52pm
A sensible idea Barbara.  

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 27th, 2011 at 5:35pm

loddon wrote on Jun 27th, 2011 at 2:52pm:
A sensible idea Barbara.

I fully agree.

Most of my stuff is aimed at PCTs and goes into the detail of the terms of the GP contracts and the ways in which GPs are encouraged to evade their responsibilities. I do publish summarised tables of call costs, which should make the point, however misrepresentations of the GPs' duty cause these to be deemed irrelevant.

The issue is indeed very simple, however the BMA, NEG and the DH carry more weight with many people when they seek to complicate it.

I would be delighted if someone was able to pull the relevant points into a very simple document that would make the situation clear and counter all of the wriggles proposed by NEG et al.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jun 30th, 2011 at 7:46pm
A new surgery in Lewes has joined the 084 co-payment club. Riverlodge and Ringmer Surgeries now charge patients a fee to speak on the telephone (as well as charging them the premium to sit in a queue).

Meanwhile, in Chigwell, a lady was unable to speak to her GP due to the prohibitive cost of ringing his 0844 premium number from her pay as you go mobile:

CHIGWELL: Seriously ill patient unable to afford premium rate call charge

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by CJT-80 on Jun 30th, 2011 at 10:21pm
It would appear the OLD numbers are printed on the following PDF

http://www.riverlodge-ringmersurgeries.co.uk/riverlodge-ringmersurgeries.pdf

Might be worth noting them and seeing if they work "after" the new system is set up.

On a seperate but valid note my local PCT informed me that my local surgery had put in a new telephone system to make to make it easier for us to call them, and it's features were benefited but the 0844 number. I intend to point out that their patients are "paying" for the new system out of OUR pockets and I for one no longer intend to do so!

Just thought I'd put my 2p in!


Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 1st, 2011 at 4:02am

CJT-80 wrote on Jun 30th, 2011 at 10:21pm:
It would appear the OLD numbers are printed on the following PDF

http://www.riverlodge-ringmersurgeries.co.uk/riverlodge-ringmersurgeries.pdf

Might be worth noting them and seeing if they work "after" the new system is set up.

On a seperate but valid note my local PCT informed me that my local surgery had put in a new telephone system to make to make it easier for us to call them, and it's features were benefited but the 0844 number. I intend to point out that their patients are "paying" for the new system out of OUR pockets and I for one no longer intend to do so!

Just thought I'd put my 2p in!

The old River Lodge number has gone, the Ringmer one will follow soon.


What did "your" PCT say about compliance with clause 29B of the GMS contract?

If you send me the details, I will offer some training for them.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by CJT-80 on Jul 1st, 2011 at 10:08am
Good Morning SCV,

what is clause 29B of the GMS contact?


Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 1st, 2011 at 4:23pm

CJT-80 wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 10:08am:
Good Morning SCV,

what is clause 29B of the GMS contact?

The GMS contract (approved by parliament) is the basis for the relationship between a GP and the NHS - it is enforced by PCTs.

Clause 29B was added in April 2010. See - Standard General Medical Services contract.


Quote:
29B. The Contractor shall not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

29B.1.      Where the Contractor is party to an existing contract or other arrangement for telephone services under which persons making relevant calls to the practice call a number which is not a geographical number, the Contractor must comply with sub-clause 29B.2.

29B.2.      The Contractor shall—
29B.2.1.      before 1st April 2011, review the arrangement and consider whether, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number, ...

It goes on to require the Contractor to take the necessary steps to cease use of a prohibited telephone number. As all network telephone companies allow immediate migration from 084 to 034 numbers at any point during the term of the arrangement there is no case where a practice could not comply.

Some PCTs are eventually starting to catch on to the fact that some practices have failed to properly "review the arrangement". They have either failed to do so at all (following advice from the BMA) or are clearly seen to have made a mistaken determination.

Most PCTs would have no good reason to suspect that GPs would fail to perform the duties demanded of them, or would do so improperly. They have had to draw on assistance from friends who have pointed this out to them. I was wondering if "your PCT" could be in need of such assistance.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Barbara on Jul 1st, 2011 at 5:09pm
SCV, there is one part of this whole matter that has concerned me for some time; could the GPs etc argue that "having regard to the arrangement as a whole" allows them to argue that it is not the cost to individual patients that matters as long as, for example, BT customers pay no more than the equivalent geo rate and that it is up to the individual if they choose a telecoms provider, even mobile, who charges more ie is that a "get out" clause?   Your advice on this would be appreciated as I am involved in a battle over hospitals using 0845 & want to be prepared for any reply.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:15pm

Barbara wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 5:09pm:
SCV, there is one part of this whole matter that has concerned me for some time; could the GPs etc argue that "having regard to the arrangement as a whole" allows them to argue that it is not the cost to individual patients that matters as long as, for example, BT customers pay no more than the equivalent geo rate and that it is up to the individual if they choose a telecoms provider, even mobile, who charges more ie is that a "get out" clause?   Your advice on this would be appreciated as I am involved in a battle over hospitals using 0845 & want to be prepared for any reply.

Anyone providing NHS services must accept that "the arrangement as a whole" is a simple recognition that the NHS is a universal service.

The "whole" means including all parts, all patients, not just a subset who perhaps choose a particular telephone service provider and Call Plan [and then breach the terms of that Call Plan by making geographic calls during times when it does not apply, thereby incurring penalty charges]. (The latter, bracketed, part only applies to 0844, not 0845, numbers.)

There is nothing whatsoever in the clear terms that refers to anything other than what "persons" actually pay to call the NHS Provider, as against the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number. "Equivalent" can only mean under the terms of the same service from the same provider. It is the reality of the situation which is addressed, not some assumed "norm". It is totally wrong for anyone to suggest that the wholly anomalous case of BT, which originates only 25% of non-business UK calls, is in any way representative of the general position.

The essential wording quoted above is also found in the Directions to NHS Bodies, which apply to hospitals (and also those few GPs subject to a PMS contract).

(If anything interesting is happening with Chase Farm since I was last involved, or perhaps you have found another, please drop me a message.)

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:21pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:15pm:
(If anything interesting is happening with Chase Farm since I was last involved, or perhaps you have found another, please drop me a message.)

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust chooses to promote its telephone number, 0845 111 4000 as a "BT lo-call rate number".  :-X

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:26pm

Dave wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:21pm:

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:15pm:
(If anything interesting is happening with Chase Farm since I was last involved, or perhaps you have found another, please drop me a message.)

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust chooses to promote its telephone number, 0845 111 4000 as a "BT lo-call rate number".  :-X

... it has also been going through something of a crisis regarding its future ...

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by allegro on Jul 2nd, 2011 at 7:52am

Dave wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:21pm:

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:15pm:
(If anything interesting is happening with Chase Farm since I was last involved, or perhaps you have found another, please drop me a message.)

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust chooses to promote its telephone number, 0845 111 4000 as a "BT lo-call rate number".  :-X


Though to be fair they give out 020 numbers on the same page. Shame they promote the 0845 number above the others.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jul 8th, 2011 at 9:04am
An update on the situation in South Yorkshire:

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/health/deadline_for_gps_phones_1_3552523

The response sent to Sheffield LINk (Local Involvement Network) says that the PCT is giving surgeries until the end of July to switch back geographic-charging numbers.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Jul 15th, 2011 at 9:54am

Dave wrote on Jun 24th, 2011 at 8:52pm:
A story published by the Ongar Gazette today:

084 number costs some BT callers 13p a minute

A HEALTH centre is being accused of charging patients premium rates to call its phone number.

Patients using the Ongar Health Centre have complained they are being charged more than the cost of a standard call when calling the surgery.

A follow-up article is carried on this week's Gazette and is now available to read online:

http://www.thisistotalessex.co.uk/GP-slammed-forcing-public-pay-084-number/story-12948345-detail/story.html


Quote:
Dr Hugh Taylor, a senior partner at the Banson's Lane surgery, previously told the Gazette the surgery could not use a geographical phone number because a BT line cannot stack calls.

Now a campaign group, saynoto0870.com, has claimed the surgery does have a geographical phone number that can stack calls.

Calls made by the Gazette to both numbers took our reporter to the surgery's automatic answering service.

A spokesman for the group said: "We think Dr Taylor does have a local number. We have called it several times and we have established it can handle queues."

The geographical phone number for the surgery is 01277 369610, which patients can call to avoid paying the premium-rate number.

Dr Taylor's system uses a local 01277 number which allows multiple calls. He has said previously that the surgery uses a 0844 number because a standard BT line cannot stack calls.

This proves that he has a standard number which can stack calls.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Heinz on Jul 15th, 2011 at 2:49pm

Dave wrote on Jul 15th, 2011 at 9:54am:
This proves that he has a standard number which can stack calls.

And that Dr Taylor is, at best, in error or misinformed.

But I'm sure he won't worry too much whilst he continues to bank the share of the extra charges his NHS patents have to pay.

FREE AT THE POINT OF USE.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Barbara on Jul 15th, 2011 at 5:03pm
The thing is, if he is so much in "error" how should patients feel about his medical abilities??  Would you trust him with your health??

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 15th, 2011 at 7:51pm

Barbara wrote on Jul 15th, 2011 at 5:03pm:
The thing is, if he is so much in "error" how should patients feel about his medical abilities??  Would you trust him with your health??

This of course raises a very interesting point.

Like his professional colleagues, Dr Taylor may well be an excellent clinician. We do not expect our physicians to be experts in matters of business, nor do we expect accountants to be experts in matters of medicine. (We expect more of GP practice managers than they commonly deliver - but that is another point.)

The government's decision to place responsibility for secondary care commissioning (i.e. hospital and other health treatment) in the hands of GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (formerly known as GP consortia) implies an assumption that clinicians have the necessary business acumen to manage very large budgets and engage in effective negotiation with providers (particular those from the private sector). The need for clinical input to commissioning decisions so that optimum clinical outcomes can be properly considered when allocating scarce financial resources is obvious and vital. One cannot however dismiss the need for proper balanced decision making considering all factors. Clinicians are trained to take the narrow view, considering the patient in front of them at the time and focussing on whatever speciality they may have chosen to pursue. They also are inclined to leave others to worry about financial and commercial issues so as not to distort their clinical judgement.

To leave the allocation of large sums of money to clinicians at a time when its most efficient use is recognised to be of the greatest priority seems somewhat ill-judged. The motivation of those who step forward to accept this responsibility with enthusiasm has to be questioned.

I am not actually that worried that Dr Taylor does not understand telephony and charges. I am concerned that he chooses, or is required, to get into issues outside the area of his competence. It is for pretending authority when speaking nonsense that he is fully worthy of criticism. I am delighted that he has withdrawn from the argument, and hope that he is now considering the situation properly.


On a simple point of fact. It is cleared proved that the geographic number is able to accommodate multiple calls and hold them in a queue - Dr Taylor was quite wrong to imply that this could not be done. The non-geographic number may however be equipped to "stack" an unlimited number of calls if the capacity of the geographic number is exceeded.

"Surgery Line" addresses the problem of inadequate queuing capability by a solution that employs features that are rarely required and thereby not cost effective. It deals with the cost issue by taking advantage of the fact that as well as these features always being available on non-geographic numbers, so is revenue sharing! Misrepresentation of the cost of calling 084 numbers has enabled this solution to be widely adopted.

If one accepts that call queuing can exist at two levels, with the secondary level being referred to as "stacking", then we have a serious misrepresentation from Dr Taylor, but one that may contain an insignificant element of truth. Just because there are many misrepresentations and inaccuracies and there is no question that this practice is in breach of its NHS contract, it does not necessarily follow that the availability of network queueing on non-geographic numbers must be a fallacy.

As campaigners, we have all we need to win this war without having to try to prove that network queueing does not exist. If our case were seen to hinge on such an argument then we may find ourselves losing a battle that undermines the campaign.

I do hope that the surgery will not come back at some point to admit that the geographic number can handle a small queue, but not enough to cope with the Monday morning rush. If it does then this will not make the slightest difference to its breach of the terms of its contract to provide NHS services.

With my notes of caution recorded, I applaud the efforts of SayNoTo0870 in further exposing this case of a breach of the terms of the GP NHS contract. Let us hope that the media coverage leads, as it must, to the withdrawal of the 0844 number.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Aug 1st, 2011 at 8:31pm
The deadline set by Sheffield PCT for its GPs to move to geographically charged number has now passed. Which 084-using surgeries have changed their numbers and which have not?

See Sheffield LINk:

GP phone numbers update (June 27, 2011)

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 2nd, 2011 at 12:42pm
BBC North West Tonight will be covering the story - on air at 6.30 this evening.

Contributions from familiar stars from the "The Apprentice" and elsewhere can be expected.

The programme should be available to view by all at this link from some time this evening until 6.30 p.m. tomorrow.

The North West Tonight item has been covered by this media release, with links to the recording.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by loddon on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 8:42am
The BBc asks Matthew Riley "why some patients are still being overcharged?"

This is the top story on the BBC regional programme "North West Tonight".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012ykqz

The issue is covered within the first 4 minutes.  The reporter says the the statement in the House (by Health Minister Anne Milton MP on 12 July 2011) "questions the very lawfulness of his business" ( Daisy --- NEG --- Surgery Line).

Riley tries to say that "we'd only charge a local rate call" and the cost of calls to GPs using the system is nothing to do with him but that it is "just the way the industry works at the moment".    Well done to the BBC recording Riley blatantly telling lies.

A well known campaigner on this issue is seen saying "this is the NHS and in the NHS you do not pay your provider for NHS services".

The reporter quotes the BMA which has issued fresh guidance stating "that existing contracts with firms like Riley's are legal for now (absolutely NOT TRUE) but new contracts will have to ditch the two tier charges".   NO, the BMA should know that GPs using 084 numbers were required by the GMS contract to have stopped using such numbers by end March 2011.   Those that are still using 084 numbers have been in breach of their contracts for over 4 months!! >:(

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by CJT-80 on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 12:03pm
@ SCV nice to see you on TV if only for a brief few moments,

@ loddon - North West Tonight can be contacted via e-mail nwt@bbc.co.uk, might be worth pointing out the truths.

It seems the BMA needs to get it's facts straight!


Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 12:34pm

CJT-80 wrote on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 12:03pm:
@ SCV nice to see you on TV if only for a brief few moments,

Gluttons for punishment can see the showreel (including the NWT clip) at this link.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by idb on Aug 4th, 2011 at 12:30am

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 12:34pm:

CJT-80 wrote on Aug 3rd, 2011 at 12:03pm:
@ SCV nice to see you on TV if only for a brief few moments,

Gluttons for punishment can see the showreel (including the NWT clip) at this link.
What a despicable individual (Riley, not the well known campaigner), showcasing corporate Britain at its worst. What I find even more remarkable is the abject failure of any authoritative body to enforce the DH contractual requirements; after all, the non adherence is easy to demonstrate - it is not like proving Fermat's last theorem or anything of any complexity. If this was happening here, this would be in front of the courts before one could say zero-eight-four-four; indeed I would assume that an individual would have an indisputable case if it was brought before an English or other court. The known liars, NEG, are simply making too much out of this scam, and I suspect, have the necessary influence to be able to prolong the exploitation. Is there anyone within HMG with sufficient testicles to enforce these requirements, or is it a typical civil service case of 'nowt to do with me, guv'?

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 4th, 2011 at 2:52am

idb wrote on Aug 4th, 2011 at 12:30am:
Is there anyone within HMG with sufficient testicles to enforce these requirements, or is it a typical civil service case of 'nowt to do with me, guv'?

It is good to have escaped, if only narrowly, from being described as despicable. Sitting in the seat reserved for contributors from "our Westminster studio" with Big Ben over my shoulder is not guaranteed to generate warmth from the audience of a regional news programme.

In any war that is based on the size of gonads, those with a direct personal financial interest are always likely to come out ahead. There is indeed plenty of it, but buck-passing is not restricted to public servants. GPs blame patients who want a better telephone system than that which they had previously, the BMA then blames NEG/Daisy by claiming (I believe falsely) that the contracts prevent Surgery Line users from changing their numbers and Matthew Riley blames the mobile companies and "the industry".

The litigious nature of the US is based on the fact that there is a much stronger sense of individuality, where something like the NHS would be unthinkable. One of the glories of the NHS is that it is supported by a delicate and complex relationship between independent medical practitioners (GPs and consultants) and a state-run system. This tricky balance has led to the situation where the practitioners who were strongly opposed to the NHS at its foundation are now its strongest supporters, because its principles reflect their professional ethics. There are of course individual exceptions and I do not seek to diminish the importance of directly provided NHS services (i.e. hospitals et al).

As we seek to learn lessons from the US, I am not sure that we are heading in the right direction. Matthew Riley achieved some notoriety on "The Apprentice" by inviting candidates to deliver "elevator pitches". If that is how he is hoping to sell the re-branded "Daisy Surgery Line" then one could question his awareness of his market.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by speedy on Aug 5th, 2011 at 2:41am
Someone should have given Riley a Landline phone On Camera and said to him phone BT and ask them to make 0844 Inclusive on Anytime for instance, to show him up in Public - We all know the result but lots out there dont realise the costs yet - my Neighbour didnt until I pointed it out on her Bill - when Riley and PCTs say Patients should take it up with their Telecom but we all know it is just NEG SPEAK and lies but lots out there dont >:(

I have now got Anytime and no mobiles Plan and as Neighbourhood Watch Local Co-ordinator wanted a Special Police Mobile included in my Plan, because of the local Anti-social Youths if a Tenant is having a problem they phone me and I phone for them to the 'Mobile in a Police Car ' and they are there in minutes and I am given feed back to pass back so the Tenant is not seen to have any connection - but would BT include that Special Number NO

Why do Interviewers never ask the RIGHT questions - not properly researched or paying lip service on orders from above or just plain cant be bothered ?

Pity Robin Day isnt alive today he used to tear apart Scammers on air - it was a joy to see them sqirm - he would have loved to have a go at Riley - I think he could have made him admit that Surgery Line was mis-sold and made him look 2 ins. high  ;D   Would do his Business no good to be shown as having mis-sold Surgery Line - Banks had to payback for mis-selling why not him ?

Isnt there anything Trading Standards can do regarding being mis-sold ?

On one of David's Blogs links when GPs were told to stop using 0870 in 2005 they were told to get 0844 or 0845 lo-call why wasn't the MOH or BMA or who-ever told then that it was wrong - we wouldn't still be on it now  ::)


Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by speedy on Aug 5th, 2011 at 10:03pm
Correction to previous post it was Gilbert Harding that made them sqirm not Robin Day  :-[

I had spent a frustrating day knowing it was the wrong name - turned the kitchen light on and out came the right name - I would love to see Riley in one of those Interviews  ;D

Update on those useless Job Clubs - they wont redo his CV and wont help him onto this Companies waiting list so I have told him to get one of the others more PC literate than him to email the CV to me and I will do it for him - This is what we are paying our Taxes for - another sticking plaster while it festers underneath.

If he gets a job from this list I want to put him on and is safely out of their clutches I intend puting a complaint about them

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 22nd, 2011 at 6:42pm
I have finally corrected an omission by acknowledging that our National Health Service does include Northern Ireland.

My database of GPs has been extended to now cover all of the UK.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Aug 30th, 2011 at 5:26pm
I've compiled a list of call rates which show that 0844 and 0845 numbers do cost more and you can download by visiting my blog: NHS GP Telephone Numbers: Analysis of call rates.

Despite this, Quorn Medical Centre switched over to a 0844 g11 number on 11th August.

On the news page it says:


Quote:
With the new system … Your call will not cost more than a local call from your provider.

As there are many providers for which this statement is false, the only way that this statement can be true is if patients do not and will never subscribe to the following:
  • Fixed lines:
    • AOL "Unlimited"
    • BT "Anytime"
    • First Telecom "Anytime" and "Evening & Weekend"
    • O2 Home Phone "Anytime"
    • Orange Home Phone "Anytime Calls"
    • Phone Co-op "Anytime"
    • Pipex "Anytime"
    • Plusnet "Anytime"
    • Primus Saver "Phone Max"
    • Sky Talk "Unlimited"
    • TalkTalk "Anytime"
    • TalkTalk Onetel "Total UK Talk"
    • Tesco Home Phone "Anytime"
    • Vodafone at Home
    • Virgin Media "Anytime"
    • YourCalls.net "Anytime" and "Evening & Weekend"

  • Mobile phones:
    • 3 Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • Giffgaff
    • O2 Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • Orange Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • T-Mobile Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • Vectone Mobile Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • Virgin Mobile Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go
    • Vodafone Pay Monthly

  • Public payphones:
    • BT Payphones

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Barbara on Aug 30th, 2011 at 5:42pm
Dave, to your list you can add Utility Warehouse/Telecom Plus!   They also charge more for 0845/0844 & exclude these from ANytime packages.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by Dave on Aug 30th, 2011 at 5:54pm

Barbara wrote on Aug 30th, 2011 at 5:42pm:
Dave, to your list you can add Utility Warehouse/Telecom Plus!   They also charge more for 0845/0844 & exclude these from ANytime packages.

Those on the list in my posting immediately above yours are the ones I included in my paper NHS GP Telephone Numbers: Analysis of Call Rates (PDF).

The extensive number of providers on the list contained within serves its purpose which is to demonstrate that not paying more is so unlikely that it's practically non-existant. It is therefore not my intention to add to that list.

I did look at Utility Warehouse when compiling the list, but decided not to put it in because it would appear to be in breach of the relevant General Condition because it doesn't seem to publish 0844 call rates as it should.

Title: Surgeries flout telephone rules, report reveals
Post by Dave on Oct 13th, 2011 at 12:21am
A recent report was published by The Argus' Health Reporter:

Doctors' surgeries flout telephone rules, report reveals


Also, published last week by Epping Forest Guardian:

EPPING FOREST: Fury as surgeries fail to change premium rate phone lines

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 15th, 2011 at 1:12am
I know Dave, Silent Victim and Barbara have pursued the issue about Doctors surgeries at some length, I have also contacted my MP Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) and although he has replied on a number of occassions this issue is still ongoing. Even our local surgery Monk Bretton Health Centre is still useing and 0845 number (fortunely I have the alternative number) but that is not the point they are breaking the law. Is there anything else that we can do, I assume that there are hundreds of surgeries still useing 08 numbers.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by sherbert on Oct 15th, 2011 at 8:21am
Holbrook surgery in West Sussex are still using a 0844 number >:(

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 15th, 2011 at 11:00am
... and new cases continue to arise:

http://www.holeslanesurgery.co.uk/index.aspx

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by sherbert on Oct 18th, 2011 at 9:03am
After reading this

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15340914

I wonder if complaining about rip off telephone numbers will get you struck off? :-/

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 31st, 2011 at 6:14pm
This story is scheduled for discussion on the Annie Othen show around 9 - 9.30 on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire tomorrow morning.

Local listeners will find the channel at 94.8 / 103.7 FM or on DAB; one can also listen live over the internet. By the end of tomorrow, I will have published a recording at this link.

I understand that the item will be an open discussion. If listeners are invited to call in, the number is 0845 900 5 200! Sadly this would preclude contributions from those who never call the numbers being discussed!



sherbert wrote on Oct 18th, 2011 at 9:03am:
I wonder if complaining about rip off telephone numbers will get you struck off? :-/

It may be that someone will raise this point in the BBC C&W discussion. It has happened before in the case of a patient who "lost his rag" on hearing the nonsense that was offered by way of justification. The point is that the story referred to will prevent many from behaving quite fairly in raising a simple question - "How can you be using this number without breaching your NHS contract?".


Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:56am
The BBC C&W item is now available on-line at this link.

When the whole show is available to "listen again" there will be some interesting comments to hear, including someone reading out the alternative number for BBC Coventry & Warwickshire phone-ins, looked up live (with the assistance of the presenter) on www.SayNoTo0870.com.

Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
Post by CJT-80 on Nov 1st, 2011 at 11:34pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:56am:
The BBC C&W item is now available on-line at this link.

When the whole show is available to "listen again" there will be some interesting comments to hear, including someone reading out the alternative number for BBC Coventry & Warwickshire phone-ins, looked up live (with the assistance of the presenter) on www.SayNoTo0870.com.


Interestingly this page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/coventry/programmes/formats/phoneins show's an 03 number.

Pity they cannot get the "rate" correct....

Title: Re: GPs in areas of England
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 2nd, 2011 at 3:49pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:56am:
The BBC C&W item is now available on-line at this link.

In addition to that referred to above, members maybe interested to listen to the following further excerpts from the Annie Othen show from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire yesterday morning. These will remain available for the next 5 days only.

From To
23.44  ..... Comments from "Ron"
25.25  29.11  "Michael" giving an endorsement of SayNoTo0870 and a live demonstration of how
to get the alternative number for the BBC Coventry and Warwickshire phone-in line.
-----  
41.05  ..... Written-in comments from listeners
42.30  43.15  Annie Othen trying to justify the BBC using a 0845 number for phone-ins.
-----  
46.50  ..... A summary of the earlier item
49.15  56.47  Dr Tony Feltbower, a local GP, offering his explanation for why his
  colleagues (NOT his own practice) use 0844 telephone numbers.

There is much to criticise in each of the above, however I believe that they were all examples of individuals offering information and explanations to the best of their understanding.


The issue of BBC local radio and its use of 0845 numbers needs to be taken up in a separate thread.

I am very grateful to BBC local radio stations for picking up on the issue of the GPs and providing an opportunity to publicise it and discuss it with people in each locality. It is however unfortunate that this has to be handled a little carefully, restricted to coverage of 0844 numbers and even prevented from covering HMRC, DWP and NHS Direct, because listener comments have to be invited on a 0845 number.


Title: Re: GPs in areas of England
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 3rd, 2011 at 1:03am
Further points arising from the items covered above are being discussed in one of a number of parallel threads on MSE.

I have just added this comment, which, along with those which precede it, develop the matters being discussed here.

Title: Warrington GP Surgery defies ban on rip-off number
Post by Dave on Nov 10th, 2011 at 1:43pm
Holes Lane and Manchester Road Surgeries in Warrington have just had a new telephone system installed. It is co-funded from calls from patients when they dial the new Business Rate number, 0844 387 8187.

It is just over 18 months since the new GMS contract came into effect:

"The Contractor shall not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number."

It was confirmed by Health Minister in Parliament in July of this year that "It is absolutely clear that there is no distinction between landlines, mobiles or payphones."

All mobile and payphone callers pay more. Most landline callers pay more too.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Heinz on Nov 10th, 2011 at 2:36pm
The 'illegality' is clear and well documented.

The questions which need answering now are who is the prosecuting authority and why aren't they doing their job?

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Dave on Nov 10th, 2011 at 2:54pm

Heinz wrote on Nov 10th, 2011 at 2:36pm:
The 'illegality' is clear and well documented.

Indeed. It is crystal clear!!


.............Here's another one that has changed in the last year. Westbourne Surgery in Huddersfield says on its homepage "Our telephone number has now changed. Although it is an 0844 number the cost is equivalent to a standard phone call. …"

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine of that page shows that it had a geographic number in September of last year, so has therefore changed sometime between then and now.

Title: Lane End Medical Group, Edgware in breach of ban
Post by Dave on Nov 10th, 2011 at 3:35pm
Another one that changed in April of this year is Lane End Medical Group of Edgware.


Quote:
The practice telephone number will  be changing on 21 April to the one shown above. The main reason for the change is the need to upgrade our current telephone system so that we can improve patient access. We believe this area is of particular importance and was highlighted in the recent National GP Survey.

The system we have chosen uses the non-geographical 0844 numbers. It is the only way we can have a first rate telephone system and at the same time remembering there is no funding from the NHS. The new system will allow:-

  • Call queuing which will let you know how many people are ahead of you.
  • Allow direct access to the automatic patient booking system 24 hours a day.
  • Allow us to leave key healthcare messages for you to listen to.
  • Track and record calls to monitor our performance and to help training which will improve the service we offer.

    This system is fully compliant with all NHS regulations. The practice will not be making a profit from the calls you make to us.

This practice says that the only way to offer "first rate" service is by co-funding.

It doesn't stop at making its views known, but engages in the practice.... and at the same time claims that it is in compliance with its NHS contract.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 10th, 2011 at 4:25pm

Heinz wrote on Nov 10th, 2011 at 2:36pm:
The 'illegality' is clear and well documented.

The questions which need answering now are who is the prosecuting authority and why aren't they doing their job?

It is a civil matter. A breach of the contract between the GP and the local Primary Care Trust.

The PCTs are not doing their job essentially because they fail to recognise the responsibility which they hold on behalf of the people that they serve.

Some have claimed that they require advice and guidance from the Department of Health. Strictly speaking this should not be necessary, however in the light of such demonstrable failure, the Department of Health and its Ministers are seen to be neglecting their duty by not stepping in to ensure that contractual conditions which they imposed are effectively enforced.

The BMA carries a heavy responsibility for continuing to promote its support for co-payment after this was rejected following the public consultation. It has also issued guidance to its members intended to circumvent the duty imposed on them by the contract revisions and to mislead PCTs.

Daisy Group is understood to be still circulating letters which misrepresent the position of the Department of Health, by suggesting that it has been granted a competence to make a determination about compliance with the terms of the GP's NHS contract.

Title: Re: Warrington GP Surgery defies ban on rip-off number
Post by Dave on Nov 27th, 2011 at 11:32am

Dave wrote on Nov 10th, 2011 at 1:43pm:
Holes Lane and Manchester Road Surgeries in Warrington have just had a new telephone system installed. It is co-funded from calls from patients when they dial the new Business Rate number, 0844 387 8187.

It is just over 18 months since the new GMS contract came into effect:

"The Contractor shall not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number."

It was confirmed by Health Minister in Parliament in July of this year that "It is absolutely clear that there is no distinction between landlines, mobiles or payphones."

All mobile and payphone callers pay more. Most landline callers pay more too.

Holes Lane and Manchester Road Surgeries' 0844 number has been reported in the local newspaper:

Anger over telephone switch at Woolston surgeries


Quote:
But Debbie Coombes, practice manager at Holes Lane and Manchester Road, said that Surgery Line owner the Daisy Group informed her that the new number did not breach any regulations.

Title: Re: Warrington GP Surgery defies ban on rip-off number
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 27th, 2011 at 12:23pm

Dave wrote on Nov 27th, 2011 at 11:32am:

Quote:
But Debbie Coombes, practice manager at Holes Lane and Manchester Road, said that Surgery Line owner the Daisy Group informed her that the new number did not breach any regulations.

If that is precisely what she was told, then the statement is true. Neither Daisy Group, nor the number itself, are covered by any NHS regulations.

The practice is in breach of its NHS contract because it failed to recognise that many of those who call it will pay more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number, when it chose to adopt this particular number. The responsibility to make this determination falls on the practice, not Daisy; it is for the PCT to ensure that the practice is in compliance with its contract.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by bazzerfewi on Nov 27th, 2011 at 1:05pm
After reading a number fo the GP practice coments they say that the only way to upgrade the system is via an 084 or similar number.

This surely is an untruth because the same service can be offered via the 03 number range.

As usual the Government have only covered half the options and they did not legislate in regard to 03 numbers. If they stated all GPs must use numbers from the 03 range surely this would have closed all the loop holes because "Daisy Practice" only provides this service because it is profitable.

What can we do - there must be another agnle!!!!

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 27th, 2011 at 1:41pm

bazzerfewi wrote on Nov 27th, 2011 at 1:05pm:
... As usual the Government have only covered half the options and they did not legislate in regard to 03 numbers. If they stated all GPs must use numbers from the 03 range surely this would have closed all the loop holes because "Daisy Practice" only provides this service because it is profitable.

What can we do - there must be another agnle!!!!

You are correct, there is no good reason why there could not have been some agreement with NEG, at is was at the time, to only offer 03 numbers to GPs and migrate all of its existing GP customers onto 03. The bad reason is probably that NEG would not have been prepared to enter into such an agreement on terms that the BMA would have thought acceptable.

After making such a terrible mistake in 2004, by prohibiting specific number ranges, but getting it wrong, the DH was reluctant to be specific about what could, should and could not be done. The contract does however address migration to 03 in non-specific terms.

Those with non-geographic numbers in place on 1 April 2010 are required to "take all reasonable steps" including considering "varying the terms of their arrangement" so as to ensure that "persons will not pay any more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number". Without being specific, but noting that it is standard industry practice for telephone service providers to allow migration to 03 at any point during the term of an arrangement, without penalty, this amounts to saying that they must attempt to migrate to 03, if they require, or are obliged to use, a non-geographic number.

The problem is that, because this is so fiercely opposed by both the BMA GPC and NEG / Daisy, it has not been considered appropriate to make it clear that migration to 03 must be considered. If Daisy were to deviate from standard industry practice by refusing migration to 03 on reasonable terms, then there is nothing that could be done about the GPs under the terms of their NHS contract - because this cannot demand unreasonable costs to be incurred under the terms of pre-existing arrangements.

I am assuming that the BMA is opposed to migration, because this would cause its members to incur the absurdly high costs of the Surgery Line solution in full. Likewise I assume that Daisy is opposed because this would make its solution appear too expensive. In both cases, they think it better that callers / patients should subsidise the cost of the Surgery Line system. It is however fair to point out that they both argue that the telephone companies should not pass on the cost of the revenue share to callers; they even pretend that in some cases the cost is not passed on. I totally disagree - and so does Ofcom.

In the case of new Surgery Line customers, the situation is more straightforward - a 03 number would pass the test which practices have to make, a 084 number is bound to fail.


One reason for the confusion is that fact that when this was being done in 2009, Ofcom was considering what to do about 0845 numbers. One of the options being considered was treating them in the same way as 03 numbers - as it had recently (almost) done with 0870. If Ofcom had gone ahead in this way (in fact it has now specifically rejected this option) then 0845 numbers would have passed the test from the date when the changes came into effect.

I have some sympathy with the DH's reluctance to be specific in drafting contracts and regulations. The problem is that those who have to implement and enforce the terms need assistance in understanding what they mean in the world as it exists. When authoritative assistance is only offered by those who are opposed to the intentions of the contract revisions, then it can be of little surprise that implementation is ineffective.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 29th, 2011 at 9:14pm
English PCT Cluster CEOs have been presented with a further briefing and request for information regarding the GPs who are continuing in breach of their contracts.

In each case the message, which includes a link to a listing of the relevant surgeries (derived from NHS Choices), has been copied to all of the MPs serving the constituencies in which the surgeries are located - i.e. the representatives of the affected patients.

The draft message, with a link to a full catalogue of the supporting data, is published in my blog under the subject of the message - Your NHS GP practices using 084 telephone numbers.

I hope that many of the MPs will ask to be provided with a copy of the response. Members may wish to press their own MPs on this point.

Please contact me for a copy of the message exactly as sent to your local PCT Cluster Chief Executive.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Keith on Dec 6th, 2011 at 2:27pm
If it helps anyone you can avoid the Lightwater Surgery (Surrey) number 0844 8151127 by calling 0870 1114539

Not perfect I know but it will help many on BT and other plans.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Dave on Dec 6th, 2011 at 3:22pm

Keith wrote on Dec 6th, 2011 at 2:27pm:
If it helps anyone you can avoid the Lightwater Surgery (Surrey) number 0844 8151127 by calling 0870 1114539

Not perfect I know but it will help many on BT and other plans.

Thanks Keith, I've added that one.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Dave on Dec 6th, 2011 at 3:53pm
Attention must be drawn to the Earley Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) which has succeeded in getting local newspapers and local businesses to publish local numbers for a surgery in the area.



The NAG has been on this one for a while, trying to get Brookside Group Practice to move into compliance with the NHS and stop charging patients via its 0844 Business Rate number.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 6th, 2011 at 5:14pm

Dave wrote on Dec 6th, 2011 at 3:53pm:
Attention must be drawn to the Earley Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) which has succeeded in getting local newspapers and local businesses to publish local numbers for a surgery in the area.


I understand that the group is grateful to SayNoTo0870 which originally verified and published the alternative numbers. I am sure that it was only lack of space in seeking to get across the important message which avoided credit being given.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by loddon on Dec 7th, 2011 at 9:15am
Indeed, it was made absolutely clear to both reporters that the source of the geo numbers was this website.   Well done to saynoto0870, and especially to Dave, for excavating them !!  ;) :)

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by loddon on Dec 7th, 2011 at 9:21am
The story has at last appeared on the GetWokingham website :---   http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/news/s/2104544_scrap_premium_rate_numbers_for_surgeries

Having only appeared yesterday it has already provoked 14 comments which is pretty good for a very local issue and a local publication.

One of the comments :---
"Roger of Finchampstead, you are quite right. The legislation was introduced early in 2010 with a final deadline of March 2011. Brookside Group Prctice have failed to comply with their contractual requirements with the NHS and are now in breach of their contract. It is the responsibilituy of the local PCT, calling itself NHS Berkshire West, to enforce the terms of the contract. Sadly they have proved their spineless incompetence by refusing to take action and making numerous deceitful excuses for their complete and utter failure.

The Health Overview and "Scrutiny" Committee of Wokingham Borough are no better because they have failed to "scrutinise" the PCT and also make feeble excuses for doing nothing. You should go to their meetings, next is 29 January, to see how ineffectual they are in safeguarding our Health services and taxpayers expenditure.

At least the Earley NAG has had the guts to take direct action and help Earley patients avoid being ripped off!!"

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 7th, 2011 at 9:53am
The local newspaper story was about this practice, the PCT, the alternative numbers and the Neighbourhood Action Group.

There is also a big national news story - SayNoTo0870 has leapt out from the bits and bytes of a website to take to the streets. I understand that its spirit is to be found on Police notice boards, alongside "wanted" posters, and coming from the pulpit of churches, alongside other messages.

A polite, and enthusiastically welcomed, poster campaign may suit the people of Berkshire, but each community should be encouraged to do whatever suits it best to SAY NO. I am not sure that I could condone spray-painting an alternative number on the outside walls of a surgery, in areas where perhaps that would be the normal way of spreading a message to the local community, but it is for each to act in its own way.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by idb on Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:15am
Would there be any merit in issuing proceedings, either against a surgery, NEG or both, presumably through the county court system, for compensation resulting from the willful ignorance of DH guidance regarding the use of 0844 numbers which is clearly being flouted and leads to hefty telephone charges particularly from mobile phones? The question is aimed at any readers competent with legal matters (lawyers, paralegals etc). I have no idea whether action may be brought against a general practice, which presumably is not a business in a generalized definition, in such a scenario. The action I have in mind is for monetary compensation due to the obligations being ignored.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by bazzerfewi on Dec 8th, 2011 at 4:18am
My understanding is that if you have a personal or company loss incure a loss the correct route is through the county court. if on the other hand the action being taken is of a crimminal nature then this is a case for Magistrates Court.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by bazzerfewi on Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:53am
If a doctor does not provide an 01 or 03 number for patients to make contact and instead offers a premium rate number is it a criminal offence or a civil offence or may be none of the above.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by Heinz on Dec 8th, 2011 at 1:15pm

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 7th, 2011 at 9:53am:
I am not sure that I could condone spray-painting an alternative number on the outside walls of a surgery, in areas where perhaps that would be the normal way of spreading a message to the local community, but it is for each to act in its own way.

Neither would I.

However, sitting in the surgery waiting for an appointment is an ideal time to insert a few A5 flyers of a surgery's real number (if known) or of a means by which complaints can be made into a few magazines or newspapers.

Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 8th, 2011 at 2:44pm

bazzerfewi wrote on Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:53am:
... is it a criminal offence or a civil offence or may be none of the above.

Many may be interested to read the following outline of the situation as I understand it.


The general terms under which GPs provide NHS services are found in the terms of a civil contract between them and the PCT. These terms are set by parliament and were varied in 2010.

Since April 2010, a contractor has not been permitted to arrange to use a telephone number "unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number".

Where an arrangement that fails this test was already in place, contractors are required to "take all reasonable steps" including consideration of "varying the terms of the contract or arrangement", so as "to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay any more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number".


This variation is a simple prohibition of use of expensive numbers, except where a telephone service provider would not allow variation of the terms of their contract on reasonable terms. Stipulations about the facilities for contact with a practice that must be offered are doubtless contained elsewhere in the terms of the NHS GP contracts - I have not looked, as I cannot imagine any GP not offering telephone contact.

There is no requirement to provide alternative numbers, because there is no number that can be used which requires an alternative. Provision of an alternative number that offered the same access as that currently available on a 084 number would be considered to be a suitable variation to the terms of the contract or arrangement. If this were done then there is no reason why the expensive number should continue to be used! (This can become something of a circular argument, as it comes down to asking why one needs an expensive alternative to a geographic number.)

There is no reason why a practice could not consider offering alternative geographic rate numbers, that offered alternative access to the practice, in the event that they were unable to vary their arrangements on reasonable terms. I have however not yet seen any evidence of a case where the obvious variation (migration to 03) is not available on reasonable terms. It is standard industry practice to offer such migration at any time and without penalty.

If, or when, I see evidence of any deviation from this standard, I will be able to draw attention to this meddling in the terms of the NHS by a commercial organisation. Such political interference is not illegal, but neither would it be illegal to draw attention to it, given that the evidence was sound and properly obtained.

I believe that any PCT which has accepted a claim that a practice has considered varying its arrangements, but found that this cannot be done on reasonable terms, should be holding this evidence. It needs to do so to protect its own position.


The relevant legal remedies that I am aware of are as follows:
[list bull-redsq]
  • A PCT may take action against a contracted GP for a breach of the terms of their contract. There is a procedure to be followed, but the case could eventually end up in a civil court. [list bull-redsq]
  • There are doubtless many ways in which the duties of a PCT are defined in statute. Most recently, there has been added an obligation to have regard to the NHS Constitution. Any failure by a public body to perform its functions properly is open to "Judicial Review". If a large number of lawyers were prepared to offer their services to the cause on a pro bono basis, then this could be worth considering.
    Preparation of the NHS Constitution was seen by some as the perfect opportunity to lay out the rights of patients in a form that could be directly enforceable in law by a patient against the provider of a NHS service. Both government and opposition at the time recognised that it was lawyers who were at the head of the group arguing for such action, and were concerned about the legal costs that could be faced by both NHS bodies and independent providers in defending themselves against actions being brought by claims companies.

    For myself, I regret the fact that we do not have a "Constitution", in the sense in which the term is generally understood, however I see that this is tied in with a wider issue concerning legal processes that needs to be resolved. The rights are declared in the NHS Constitution, however we are reliant on them being treated with a sufficient degree of importance by officers of the NHS, as there is no simple legal mechanism by which they may be enforced.

    I am sure that other legal avenues will be considered. I have only addressed those which I see as being currently relevant. I would be delighted to learn of other legal processes that could be usefully engaged, in addition to the procedural and PR avenues that are already being followed.

  • Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Dec 10th, 2011 at 5:21pm
    It has been mentioned in earlier posts on this thread that the Wokingham Times story about  Brookside Group Practice, Earley NAG, NHS Berkshire West and an illegitimate 0844 phone number has been reproduced on the GetWokingham website ----

    http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/news/s/2104544_scrap_premium_rate_numbers_for_surgeries 

    It has been drawn to my attention that there is a "poll" on that page asking "Is it right for GP surgeries to use 0844 numbers?"

    Interesting result so far is that 95% say "No, they should use local numbers."
    That is 95%   :)

    Other readers of this Forum might like to look at the Poll and vote their opinion on this matter.   The Poll is found at the foot of the right hand column below various links and adverts.   It is also possible to leave comments on the Poll as well as the main story.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by devon jack on Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:43pm
    Our Health Centre has just (5 Dec 2011) introduced an 0844 number (see http://www.wallingbrook.co.uk/) and this is the only way to contact the surgery or dispensary. They don't even display any email addresses on their website.
    I've complained to NHS Devon and they are looking into it. Any suggestions how to get it changed back to a geographic number? As I have a BT all inclusive calls contract then it will cost me to phone them rather than being part of my BT free calls.
    I also gather that if they call you back then there is also a charge to the patient, but not proved that yet.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:11pm
    I have found this number

    01769 580 269

    I have no idea if it still works. It is worth a try and if it does, please let us know.

    Thanks

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by devon jack on Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:21pm

    sherbert wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:11pm:
    I have found this number

    01769 580 269

    I have no idea if it still works. It is worth a try and if it does, please let us know.

    no - you just get a recorded message telling you the number has changed and to call the 0844 number



    ~ Edited by Dave: Link added to quote box

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by sherbert on Dec 13th, 2011 at 8:02pm
    oh well, it was worth a try.

    However, you could always email them from here


    http://www.wallingbrook.co.uk/p5419.html?a=0


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Dec 14th, 2011 at 10:25am

    devon jack wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:43pm:
    Our Health Centre has just (5 Dec 2011) introduced an 0844 number (see http://www.wallingbrook.co.uk/) and this is the only way to contact the surgery or dispensary. They don't even display any email addresses on their website.
    I've complained to NHS Devon and they are looking into it. Any suggestions how to get it changed back to a geographic number? As I have a BT all inclusive calls contract then it will cost me to phone them rather than being part of my BT free calls.
    I also gather that if they call you back then there is also a charge to the patient, but not proved that yet.
    Well done for complaining, I look forward to the response. I find it absolutely staggering that practices are even now introducing 0844 numbers, long after this was effectively banned, and compounding it by including nonsense like "Calls will be charged at LOCAL RATE. Calls from mobiles may be higher or lower depending on the network provider" alongside the new number. What planet are they on?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by derrick on Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:29am

    devon jack wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:21pm:

    Quote:
    I have found this number

    01769 580 269

    I have no idea if it still works. It is worth a try and if it does, please let us know.

    no - you just get a recorded message telling you the number has changed and to call the 0844 number



    Report them to the ASA here:-
    http://www.asa.org.uk/Complaints/How-to-complain/Online-Form/Step1.aspx

    The ASA are responsible for policing websites and will make them remove the misleading wording.

    Complaint to your local PCT should continue.

    .

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Dec 15th, 2011 at 2:32pm
    Just a note to everyone re a campaign I'm waging in Surrey. For the last 9 months (ish) I have been in communication with the PCT. The exchange of emails is at the 50 odd level with some detailed correspondence.

    At times you want to bang your head against the wall with the sheer lack of progress and the snails pace of response, but occasionally you do feel that progress is being made.

    I would just like to note here thanks to SCV who has been supporting me in my efforts.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by devon jack on Dec 15th, 2011 at 10:19pm

    devon jack wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:43pm:
    Our Health Centre has just (5 Dec 2011) introduced an 0844 number (see http://www.wallingbrook.co.uk/) and this is the only way to contact the surgery or dispensary. They don't even display any email addresses on their website.
    I've complained to NHS Devon and they are looking into it. Any suggestions how to get it changed back to a geographic number? As I have a BT all inclusive calls contract then it will cost me to phone them rather than being part of my BT free calls.
    I also gather that if they call you back then there is also a charge to the patient, but not proved that yet.

    Well done for complaining, I look forward to the response. I find it absolutely staggering that practices are even now introducing 0844 numbers, long after this was effectively banned, and compounding it by including nonsense like "Calls will be charged at LOCAL RATE. Calls from mobiles may be higher or lower depending on the network provider" alongside the new number. What planet are they on?
    The PCT is investigating our health centre and have told them to produce definitive proof after one month that the claim that patients pay no more than calling a geographic number is true. They will now also include references to "inclusive calls" deals where calls are effectively prepaid for 01/02/03.
    I got an info sheet today which states (literally, including the obvious grammatical errors provided by NEG)
    "Patients calling surgery line from a BT landline pay no more than the cost of calling an equivalent geographic number, other providers may charge differently. Calls from mobile may vary please contact your mobile operator for more detail"
    I think that is an admission that if not using a BT landline then the calls are more expensive!!
    Another aspect I read today is that when using "Surgery Line" from NEG, the patient doesn't get an engaged tone - ie is charged for hanging on when nobody can take the call, instead of just hanging up at no charge and calling again later.



    ~ Edited by Dave: Link added to quote box

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Dec 15th, 2011 at 11:22pm
    Well done devon jack for getting something in hardcopy from NEG - how did you manage that - any literature that can be obtained from NEG/Daisy on Surgery line is gold dust - they are so cocky they will hang themselves sooner or later - lets hope one of Us is around to grab it, and pull the noose tighter  ;D

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 16th, 2011 at 8:51am

    speedy wrote on Dec 15th, 2011 at 11:22pm:
    Well done devon jack for getting something in hardcopy from NEG - how did you manage that - any literature that can be obtained from NEG/Daisy on Surgery line is gold dust - they are so cocky they will hang themselves sooner or later - lets hope one of Us is around to grab it, and pull the noose tighter  ;D

    Well done devon jack for all of your efforts.

    The practice has itself admitted to a breach of contract by declaring on its website that:


    Quote:
    Calls from mobiles may be higher

    It thereby clearly shows that it has not achieved the satisfaction that it is required to achieve, as follows:


    Quote:
    The Contractor shall not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.


    Any spurious doubt that may have been raised as to the meaning of "the arrangement as a whole" or "relevant calls", was dispelled by a recent statement from the Health Minister.


    Quote:
    there is no distinction between landlines, mobiles or payphones ... patients should not expect to be charged any more

    The minister could have added a further point by explaining that the charge for a telephone call is always set by the provider of telephone service to the caller. The spurious suggestion that GPs or their agents can somehow control the relative cost of geographic and non-geographic calls from landlines must never be entertained.



    For those interested in the views of NEG on relevant topics, I can offer a number of links. Here are three for now:

    1) A standard letter used to express its contrary opinions on how the terms of the revisions to the NHS GP contracts should be interpreted. This includes the incredible (to some) claim that "Surgery Line" enjoys the endorsement of the Department of Health, implying that any telephone number used with Surgery Line must be OK!

    2) A news article in which NEG is quoted as claiming that the cost of calling from mobiles is not covered by the GP contract because it is "impossible" to set the cost. This disregards the fact that it is equally impossible for NEG or any GP to set or pre-determine the relative cost of a geographic / 084 call made through BT or any other landline call provider.

    I comment on the further extraordinary statement from NEG in the article that it is undesirable for the costs of providing NHS services to be met by taxpayers. If NEG is fundamentally opposed to the principles of the NHS, then we know who we are dealing with.

    3) I comment on the latest publication covering "Daisy" Surgery Line.



    We are perhaps in the wrong thread for discussing Surgeries that are not saying 'No' to 0844, however I will add one further comment.

    Members have discussed use of the Comments feature on NHS Choices to express dissatisfaction with surgeries using 084 numbers.

    I have collected a sample of such comments and published them here.

    There is no ready mechanism for keeping a log or feed of all such comments or for obtaining a meaningful general indication of the degree of dissatisfaction. Comments are "tagged", however there can be no assurance that relevant comments will be tagged with the word "telephone" - many of those quoted were not!

    Ministers are keen for increased emphasis to be put on the "commenting" mechanism, although I have severe concerns and doubts about the propriety and validity of this approach in general. I cannot however deny that these comments offer a potentially useful campaigning resource, not least by the falsehoods and admissions of breach of contract that are seen in the responses by practices.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Dec 16th, 2011 at 3:16pm
    I have blogged about Earley Neighbourhood Action Group's poster campaign:

    SAYNOTO0870.COM helps campaigners strike back at NHS surgery | HMRC responds (in part) to SAYNOTO0870.COM’s call

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Dec 17th, 2011 at 4:08pm
    I have contacted Dan Jarvis, yet again in regard to Doctors Surgeries "Premium Rate Numbers" and send him the latest article that has been posted.

    He says he is here to serve the people of Barnsley, but he hasn't made any headway in regard to the GP campaign

    He will give up before I do!!!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 22nd, 2011 at 3:43pm
    Many have indicated interest in a list of those GPs who have recently gone over to 084 numbers.

    A new item has been added to my database, showing those who were using geographic numbers at the time when I prepared my database (from NHS Choices in May 2011) but are now using 084 numbers.

    It is available to view as Recent Additions - England.

    Whilst this may provide an indication of the rate at which adoption of 084 numbers is continuing, it does not provide anything like a complete list of those who have adopted them since the contractual requirement prohibiting new arrangements came into force on 1 April 2010.

    The deadline of 31 March 2011, was for those with such numbers already in use on 1 April 2010 to complete the necessary variation of their arrangements.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Dec 23rd, 2011 at 7:17pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 22nd, 2011 at 3:43pm:
    A new item has been added to my database, showing those who were using geographic numbers at the time when I prepared my database (from NHS Choices in May 2011) but are now using 084 numbers.

    It is available to view as Recent Additions - England.

    Not such a happy time for patients of all these GPs !!  :( >:(

    It is apalling after these numbers have been "banned" that so many GPs continue to flout the ban so brazenly.   Also, disgusting that NEG/Daisy continue to promote these numbers to GPs knowing that they are not allowed within the NHS. :o ::) :'(

    Makes me wonder whether there is anything practical we can do to help those unfortunate patients fight against this iniquitous imposition .......   like, maybe, finding the underlying geo numbers for these surgeries and publicising them??????

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Dec 23rd, 2011 at 7:18pm

    Oh ... and a Happy Chistmas to all readers and contributors to the Forum. :) :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:09pm
    Another campaigner is recruited and steps forward in the media:

    MP calls on GPs to end ‘rip off’ charges for phoning surgeries.

    We are back in South Yorkshire again.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Dec 28th, 2011 at 10:57am
    Pity he didn't call on GPs to end ‘rip off’ charges for phoning surgeries, when he was in the government, rather than in opposition. ::)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Heinz on Dec 28th, 2011 at 11:18am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:09pm:
    Another campaigner is recruited and steps forward in the media:

    MP calls on GPs to end ‘rip off’ charges for phoning surgeries.

    We are back in South Yorkshire again.

    I thought Yorkshire folk were proud of their friendly-to-all disposition.

    Clearly, that doesn't apply to their GPs - many of whom most certainly aren't patient-friendly!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 28th, 2011 at 12:56pm

    sherbert wrote on Dec 28th, 2011 at 10:57am:
    Pity he didn't call on GPs to end ‘rip off’ charges for phoning surgeries, when he was in the government, rather than in opposition. ::)

    You have a point. I have no note of him addressing this issue when he was personally holding the relevant brief as shadow Secretary of State for Health.

    It is however fair to say that the responsible ministers from both governments have made very clear calls for the 'rip off' to end. In neither case however have they recognised, or done, what is necessary to make it happen.

    Mr Healey may have been slow to recognise the importance of this issue, however I am happy to welcome any repentant sinner to join our cause. As a backbench MP he is now free to focus on any issue of concern to his constituents. The opposition front bench Health team have enough trouble coping with the principles that they have followed being taken to their natural conclusion. He suffered terribly with this and Andy Burnham continues to suffer.

    It could be that learning of his place on this list played some part in encouraging him to look at this information. The Barnsley percentage may have been mistaken, however the canniness of the characteristic Yorkshire GP is clear for all to see.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Dec 29th, 2011 at 9:11am
    Thanks SilentVictim, I have sent the surgeries that are operating an illegal service to "Dan Jarvis" my local MP. I am not hold out much hope as he has done very little in the past.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by derrick on Jan 4th, 2012 at 11:52am

    derrick wrote on Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:29am:

    devon jack wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 7:21pm:

    Quote:
    I have found this number

    01769 580 269

    I have no idea if it still works. It is worth a try and if it does, please let us know.

    no - you just get a recorded message telling you the number has changed and to call the 0844 number



    Report them to the ASA here:-
    http://www.asa.org.uk/Complaints/How-to-complain/Online-Form/Step1.aspx

    The ASA are responsible for policing websites and will make them remove the misleading wording.

    Complaint to your local PCT should continue.

    .



    Looks like they have been complained about to the ASA, this is the letter I have just received after reporting them in mid December:-

    "WALLINGBROOK HEALTH CENTRE

    Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority.

    We’ve already investigated and upheld complaints about this issue and I’m concerned to hear that advertising like this continues.  I’ve therefore passed the case to our Compliance team, which will follow it up.

    The Compliance team doesn’t report to complainants or publish the details of its work but it will address the problem. 

    Sometimes the Compliance team finds it more difficult to impose effective sanctions against this category of advertisement.  Nevertheless it will do its best to achieve a positive outcome.  When an advertiser refuses to co-operate fully with the Compliance team it can, for misleading ads, consider referring the matter to the Office of Fair Trading.

    Our website, www.asa.org.uk, contains information about the ASA and the work we do, including the results of investigations into other complaints.

    Yours sincerely

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 4th, 2012 at 9:08pm
    Sometimes the Compliance team finds it more difficult to impose effective sanctions against this category of advertisement.  Nevertheless it will do its best to achieve a positive outcome.  When an advertiser refuses to co-operate fully with the Compliance team it can, for misleading ads, consider referring the matter to the Office of Fair Trading.

    Why should it be more difficult to impose sanctions they are clearly in breach of the law.

    DISCUSTING >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 11th, 2012 at 4:29pm
    West Yorkshire makes it into the news. Also a plug for SayNoTo0870.com - wait for it!

    Listen to extracts from BBC Radio Leeds at this link.

    More is scheduled to follow on BBC Radio Leeds at 5:40 this afternoon.

    It is hoped that this may provide an opportunity to contradict some of the nonsense broadcast earlier.



    The further item did go ahead as planned, although it over-ran a little.

    This contains an introduction, an extended recorded interview and a live response - listen at this link.

    Readers can be assured that this matter will be followed up vigorously.

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 13th, 2012 at 11:45am
    I have been in contact with all MPs in Barnsley without much success, they have responded to my calls but not acted on them. If you live in Barnsley can you please contact your local MP urging them encourage to their local surgery to stop using premium rate numbers and use the correct 01226 number.

    An act of Parliament has been passed stating that it is illegal for Doctors to use 08 numbers and charging patients to contact them

    It is time us Barnsley folk voted with our feet and insisted that your local doctor gave you the alternative 01226 number - They all have one - Tell Them You Will Go Elsewhere If They Don't Provide You With The Local Number

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by sherbert on Jan 13th, 2012 at 12:10pm
    Holbrook surgery in West Sussex http://www.holbrooksurgery.com/ still uses them, don't think it is just you Yorkshire folk that are being stitched up ;D

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 15th, 2012 at 1:58pm
    Please see a response from Dan Jarvis MP, I would appreciat feedback from members with your views.

    Thank you for cantacting me with regard to the use of 0844/5 by doctors in Barnsley. As you know I agree that the use of none geographical numbers mean an unfair surcharge on patients who need to use a mobile phone. Further, I disagree with such numbers being used as a means of generating an income for medical pracitices.

    Further to previous communications, I can confirm that I have now received information from the various agencies that have been contacted as part of my investigation into this matter

    I have been informed by NHS Barnsley that all practices within the jurisdiction of the primary care trust have been have been directed to discontinue the use of 084/5 numbers. Some have already done so and those that remain are in the process of ceasing the use of these numbers, subject to contractual notice periods.

    I am assured that it is expected for all 0844/5 numbers to be ceased by the end of the financial year.

    I hope you find this response helpful, if there is anything else Ican help with, please do not hesitate to contact my constituency office.


    I assume that the end of the finacial year that Dan Jarvis refers to is April 2012, let us see if the outcome is as he says.

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 15th, 2012 at 2:55pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Jan 15th, 2012 at 1:58pm:
    Please see a response from Dan Jarvis MP, I would appreciat feedback from members with your views.

    There are currently 22 surgeries using 084 numbers serving Barnsley PCT. As only 1 is using a 0844 number and the other 21 are all under a collective arrangement with Kingston Communications, it is not totally absurd to believe that they will all have moved to geographic numbers by 5 April (or 31 March).

    It must be pointed out that they had a contractual notice period of 12 months within which to take reasonable steps to ensure that callers paid no more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number to contact the practice. That notice period expired on 31 March 2011. I believe that Mr Jarvis should have asked the PCT for confirmation that the steps which they are able to take now were not considered reasonable then and that other steps were properly considered at that time.

    Mr Jarvis shows no regard for constituents who take telephone service from Virgin Media as they are commonly surcharged more severely than PAYG mobile users, if one looks at the matter in purely proportionate terms. With the current (probably temporary) perverse call charges for 0845 numbers, there are currently some mobile callers who are enjoying a saving when calling 0845 numbers. (See this table.)

    This is however a temporary blip whilst a dispute with BT is pursued - I cannot believe that it will be sustained. We must be on our guard for those who may seek to use this odd and wholly exceptional situation improperly.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 17th, 2012 at 6:10pm
    bazzerfewi has asked me to post this reply which he has received from his MP:

    10th January 2012


    Dear Baz,

    Thank you for contacting me with regard to the use of 0844/5 numbers by medical practices and doctor's surgeries in Barnsley. As you know, I agree that the use of non-geographic telephone numbers means an unfair surcharge on patients who need to use a mobile phone.   Further, I disagree with such numbers being used as a means of revenue-generation for medical practices.

    Further to previous communications, I can confirm that I have now received information from the various agencies that have been contacted as part of my investigation into this matter.

    I have been informed by NHS Barnsley that all practices within the jurisdiction of the Primary Care Trust have been directed to discontinue use of 084/5 numbers.  Some have already done so and those that remain are in the process of ceasing use of these numbers, subject to contracted notice periods.

    I am assured that it is expected for all 0844/5 numbers to be ceased by the end of the financial year.
    I hope you find this response helpful, if there is anything else I can help with, please do not hesitate to contact my constituency office.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dan Jarvis MP
    Barnsley Central

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:45am
    Firth Park Surgery in Sheffield has published 0845 Number Policy:


    Quote:
    Background
    1          All GP Practices are required to ensure that patients are not charged more than the equivalent Geographical Rate when telephoning the surgery.
    ·          This is a contractual requirement of the Practices GMS/PMS/APMS contract (appendix 1)
    ·          The Ofcom guidance “Number crunching: - how much does a phone call really cost?” provides an overview of the different types of phone numbers that are available and the applicable call charges for each of these http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/files/2010/01/numbering.pdf
    2          The provider of our 0845 number is not able to guarantee that calls to the practice will be at the geographical rate or lower
    ·          Call charges are set by the callers telephone provider/operator
    ·          While calls to 0845 numbers for BT Landlines customers are at the geographical rate calls from other providers, e.g. Virgin Media (Cable), and most mobile operators cost more
    3          The NHS Regulation allow practices to operate a call back facility for patients where we are unable to ensure that calls to the surgery are at the geographical rate
    4          As we have an 0845 number provided by …KINGSTON COMMUNICATIONS LTD we are unable to guarantee that calls to the practice will be at the geographical rate or lower.

    Policy
    1          Under the Practices arrangements with …KINGSTON COMMUNICATIONS LTD we are unable, at this time, to change our telephone number to one which is compliant with the regulations i.e. an 0114 number or an 03 number
    1.1        We will review this situation on a quarterly basis with a view to implementing a system that guarantees all callers will be charged the equivalent Geographical rate as soon as possible.
    2          We will operate a call back facility for patients who ask to be called back when phoning the surgery
    2.1        This facility will not be available to patients calling from a phone where the practice is satisfied that the patient is not being charged more than the geographical rate
    ·           When a Patient asks to be called back we will ask for details of the call provider being used. Patients calling from the following providers will not be able to receive a call back under this policy and should be informed of this
    BT Landlines (Details correct as at 01.04.2011)
    2.2        To enable the patient to be called back we will ask for the following Details
    ·           Patients Phone number
    ·           Name and Address
    ·           Purpose of the Call (This will enable the practice to identify the correct person to call the patient back)
    2.3        We aim to call patients back at the earliest practical opportunity and will advise the patient of this.
    ·           We will, whenever possible, give the patient an estimation of how long it will be before we are able to call them back.
    2.4        Where the patient is calling from a non-geographical number, e.g. a mobile, we may in agreement with the patient seek to make the call back to an alternative geographical number where this is available.
    3          Any queries relating to this policy should be directed to
    … JULIAN STEVENS, PRACTICE MANAGER


    Below this, it quotes paragraphs 29 from the GMS/PMS Contracts.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Barbara on Jan 18th, 2012 at 1:55pm
    Is it me?   Why can they not change, I had thought providers were supposed to make change to geo/03 possible in these circumstances?   More to the point, generally what is the use of call back because by the time you've got through, you've already incurred possible large costs, particularly if you're in a queue?  Also, with the amount of info they require, presumably to prevent any errant BT customer from gaining a percieved(?) benefit, the caller will have been engaged in a lengthy premium rate call & the reception staff wasting a lot of time on non-medical unnecessary nonsense.   What a waste of time becuase they have no conscience about the sick at all!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 18th, 2012 at 4:54pm
    Further to my earlier posting, I had another look at the Firth Park Surgery's website and found a notice on the homepage:


    Quote:
    OUR PHONE NUMBER IS CHANGING ON 1st FEBRUARY 2012!

    0333 32 32 900

    WHY? in order to meet NHS regulations and provide a fair, telephone queuing system for patients

    WHAT WILL IT COST YOU TO CALL? Calls cost the same as ring a geographical number such as 0114 (Sheffield) whether you are ringing from a landline or a mobile. Calls to our new number are
    included in inclusive minutes in call packages for both landlines and mobiles under OFCOM regulations.

    This surgery has obviously got the message that 0845 isn't acceptable.

    When might the rest in the area that are also using 0845 numbers provided by Kingston Communications (Kcom) be switching?

    I am under the impression that these Kcom 0845 numbers have been arranged by the PCT, but what is it doing to see that these surgeries get off them?  :-?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 18th, 2012 at 5:38pm

    Dave wrote on Jan 18th, 2012 at 4:54pm:
    This surgery has obviously got the message that 0845 isn't acceptable.
    ... and has taken the necessary action, albeit belatedly.

    Members may be assured that campaigners are engaged with KCOM and the PCTs in trying to get this mess sorted out. Further representations may of course be made to either or both.



    Barbara wrote on Jan 18th, 2012 at 1:55pm:
    Is it me?   Why can they not change, I had thought providers were supposed to make change to geo/03 possible in these circumstances?

    Providers are invariably able to arrange migration from 084 to the equivalent 034 number, and it is normally the case that they do permit this.

    It may well be that providers are able to arrange migration to a geographic number, however that cannot be guaranteed, nor may it be desirable if the technical features of non-geographic numbers are used to advantage.



    Barbara wrote on Jan 18th, 2012 at 1:55pm:
    More to the point, generally what is the use of call back because by the time you've got through, you've already incurred possible large costs, particularly if you're in a queue?  Also, with the amount of info they require, presumably to prevent any errant BT customer from gaining a percieved(?) benefit, the caller will have been engaged in a lengthy premium rate call & the reception staff wasting a lot of time on non-medical unnecessary nonsense.

    The
    Quote:
    The NHS Regulation allow practices to operate a call back facility for patients where we are unable to ensure that calls to the surgery are at the geographical rate

    ... is not strictly correct. The regulations do not prohibit use of a call back arrangement, but that is not to say that they allow it as an acceptable alternative to ensuring that callers pay no more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number.


    Variations to the GP contract can only compel a practice to take "reasonable" steps in respect of existing commercial arrangements. Only if a practice can show that there is no "reasonable" step open to them may they continue to use a 084 number. In such cases they are required to "consider" a call back arrangement.

    The only call back arrangement that would be suitable is one which automatically accepts requests for call back, rather than placing a caller in a queue, and ensures that the call back is delivered at the appropriate point in the processing of the queue. This technology is available and is used by some call centres. It is however probably far too expensive and complex for use in a GP surgery. It is also known to be not wholly effective in practice, because many of those called back do not answer the call.

    I would expect all practices to decide not to follow this course, although they are required to "consider" it.


    The key point rests in establishing that migration to 034 (although other reasonable steps may be preferred) is an option that is both available and reasonable in every case. I have not yet seen any clear evidence to show a case where this is untrue. There are of course many claims that migration is not possible (such as that quoted above), but I have not seen any evidence to sustain them. The BMA advises members to claim that meeting the full cost of their telephone system, without subsidy at the expense of patients, (a consequence of migration from 084 to 03) would be an "unreasonable" cost for a practice to bear - this is, of course, nonsense.


    The Firth Park Surgery is not prohibited from following its rather elaborate call back policy. This is obviously intended to avoid the practice from incurring the cost and inconvenience of calling back, unless there is a good reason why it should do so. The declared policy appears absurdly over-elaborate and excessively formal. One hopes that a more practical and sensitive approach is followed in reality. There will always be situations in which it is appropriate for a surgery to call back.

    (I am concerned that the genesis of this policy may be from someone mistakenly believing that a formalised call back policy, which rightly protected the interests of practices, was an acceptable alternative to taking "the necessary reasonable steps".)



    Barbara wrote on Jan 18th, 2012 at 1:55pm:
    What a waste of time becuase they have no conscience about the sick at all!

    Is it me?   I seriously doubt that there is any such callousness on the part of GPs or any others involved in this matter. One notable exception however springs immediately to mind!

    I suspect that there are good intentions at the heart of this, although they have been misguided and administrative nonsense has ended up having to play too big a part.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 18th, 2012 at 5:49pm
    In reply to you Dave

    I have been informed by NHS Barnsley that all practices within the jurisdiction of the Primary Care Trust have been directed to discontinue use of 084/5 numbers.  Some have already done so and those that remain are in the process of ceasing use of these numbers, subject to contracted notice periods.

    I am assured that it is expected for all 0844/5 numbers to be ceased by the end of the financial year.
    I hope you find this response helpful, if there is anything else I can help with, please do not hesitate to contact my constituency office.
    this is an extract from Dan Javis's response so if there is any practice with an ilegal number

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 18th, 2012 at 7:41pm
    This is fantastic new, lets see how many follow suit to comply with the law

    Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
    Post by Dave on Jan 18th, 2012 at 8:29pm

    Dave wrote on Aug 1st, 2011 at 8:31pm:
    The deadline set by Sheffield PCT for its GPs to move to geographically charged number has now passed. Which 084-using surgeries have changed their numbers and which have not?

    See Sheffield LINk:

    GP phone numbers update (June 27, 2011)

    Sheffield LINk posted a further update in November:


    Quote:
    LINk continues to get calls from people about the cost of calling their GP practice on 0844 or 0845 numbers. We have continued to follow this up with NHS Sheffield who tell us that “all practices in Sheffield now either have a 0114 number or a Call Back Policy in place”.

    Sheffield currently has 88 GP practices spread across 114 sites and LINk has discovered that 32 practices now have an 0114 number (open a list of practices and their numbers) including Page Hall Medical Centre, which is changing its number on December 1st.

    The remaining practices have made sure that calls to 084 numbers will cost the same as any call to an 0114 number when using a BT landline only.  These practices will also call anyone back who is using a non-geographic number, such as a mobile phone or landline from other providers such as sky/Virgin media etc . Please be aware that when you ask for a call back, the practice will ask the number you are calling on to check that you are actually paying a higher rate. Practices should also be actively promoting their call costs and call-back service to their patients. Each practice should also be reviewing their phone policy every 3 months.

    The Matthews Practice has published an 0114 alternatve along with a warning that it doesn't redirect to the out of hours service like the 0845 does.

    Birley Health Centre has also published an 0114 alternative and it doesn't redirect to the out of hours service and it doesn't offer queuing.


    This gives clarification to where the idea of the call back system for non-BT callers came from. The PCT arranged service from Kcom, which many surgeries use, and it should have seen that this was revised rather than fudging it with the call back system.

    Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 19th, 2012 at 2:45am

    Dave wrote on Jan 18th, 2012 at 8:29pm:
    Sheffield LINk posted a further update in November

    This is not compliance with the terms of the contract revisions approved by parliament.

    Unless it can be shown that KCOM refuses to allow practices to meet the cost of their telephone systems in full - by migration to a 03 number - then they remain in breach of the terms of the contractual provisions.


    The idea that some half-baked concept of a call-back arrangement is an acceptable alternative to full compliance seems to be a local invention. If this has been a policy determination by the PCT, then it stands in breach of its statutory duty.

    If it can be shown that KCOM does not permit migration to 03 in these cases (or imposes exceptional charges) then it must be exposed as interferring with the operation of the NHS for purely political reasons. If this were the case, then the PCT should be congratulated for at least doing something to mitigate the effect.

    I am fairly confident about the side on which the truth will lie.


    If the PCT had any part in originally commending use of non-geographic numbers to the practices, I can understand that once the true cost is revealed then it would feel embarrassed, not to mention the anger of the practices and the LMC. It cannot however be allowed to use KCOM as a scapegoat. If KCOM is morally guilty in any way, then it may want to take a financial hit by offering exceptionally generous terms for use of 03 numbers.

    The one group that cannot be used to pick up the tab are the patients of the practices.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 19th, 2012 at 8:34pm
    BBC Coventry & Warwickshire will be covering the subject of GPs with 084 phone numbers tomorrow morning.

    At 9:30 Coventry North East MP Bob Ainsworth will be on and at 10:20 a campaigner will be on air. You can listen in on 94.8FM, 103.7FM, 104FM or DAB. The station can also be heard online here.

    Members might like to listen to the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire programme which went out on 1st November, and featured Mark Pawsey MP and some campaigners.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jan 20th, 2012 at 11:21am
    Reply from Surrey PCT below received a couple of weeks ago. Positive news after something in the region of 50 exchanges of correspondence over a period of nearly a year.

    With David's help I am still pursuing the issue in letter where it is suggested that some contracts will have to go to expiry as termination will cost £10Ks. We don't believe contracts necessarily need to be terminated and the cost of transferring to an alternative 0344 number should not be significant.

    Letter from Surrey PCT:

    Thank you for your recent emails regarding the use of 084 numbers by GP practices in Surrey. I understand this is an area of great interest and concern to you and apologise for the delay in responding to you.
    I would like to assure you that we have been working closely with our GP practices, together with the LMC, to ensure that where contracts are coming to end 084 numbers are not being used and where arrangements can be varied the practice has done so.
    I am aware that six practices still have contracts that use 084 numbers and financial penalties associated with terminating the contracts are significant (some tens of thousands of pounds). This funding would have to be taken from direct patient care. In view of this, the advice that we have been given is that where it is not possible to reasonably vary or renegotiate the contract, it will run to its expiry date. We will work with these practices to ensure that at that point, any new arrangements meet the NHS direction.
    I would like to reassure you that we have taken the issue of 084 numbers very seriously and will continue to do so until they are no longer in operation in Surrey. We are monitoring the position with those practices which have contracts for these numbers to ensure that they terminate at the earliest possible point.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 20th, 2012 at 7:03pm
    I don't know the legal implications but I was under the impression that all contract must cease on or before 31 March 2012.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 20th, 2012 at 8:05pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Jan 20th, 2012 at 7:03pm:
    I don't know the legal implications but I was under the impression that all contract must cease on or before 31 March 2012.

    Put simply, the legal position and the chronology is as follows:

    - GPs serve the NHS under a contract with their local PCT, the general terms of which are negotiated and agreed nationally, and approved by parliament. Fine details covering particular services and the value of payments are added in each case locally. It is the PCT that is responsible for enforcement of compliance with the terms. If necessary, this can be done through a civil court - but one hopes never to actually come to the point of legal proceedings.

    - The general terms of the contracts (there are actually three different versions, but the relevant wording is identical) were amended to take effect from 1 April 2010. This effectively prohibited adoption of any relatively expensive (i.e. 084) number from that date.

    - Those already using such numbers were given 12 months in which to vary or terminate their arrangements so as to ensure that patients and others paid no more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number to contact the GP. Recognising that arrangements may already be in place extending beyond the deadline of 1 April 2011, only "reasonable steps" could be required.


    I am prepared to accept that incurring penalty charges for early termination of an equipment leasing agreement would not be "reasonable", but that is not what is necessary in order to comply. The option of migration to the equivalent 034 number is available in every case - this has never been denied. This will cause practices to henceforward incur the full cost of their telephone system, because the subsidy provided from use of 084 numbers is lost. Whatever a GP may think of its telephone system provider, in terms of its duties to the NHS, that cost must be considered to be "reasonable".

    For a variety of reasons (all of them bad), the April 2011 deadline has been missed in very many cases. The terms of the contract cannot be easily amended, so no new deadline can be set. I argue that the government must now put all possible pressure on PCTs to properly enforce compliance with the requirements, and do so with no undue delay.

    Support from the BMA, and providers such as NEG, would help this process enormously. If necessary, this will have to be engaged through the knowledge that their members / customers will need this assistance in order to avoid facing legal action.

    If some informally agreed deadline would help this process, then I would not object, however this cannot be seen as an extension of the period of grace granted initially. It must be understood that all those continuing to use 084 numbers are currently in breach of their contracts, not subject to some new or revised requirement. This latter point will enable patients of every surgery to be aware that their rights under the NHS Constitution are being respected, and it will help them to exert pressure on practices to ensure that they return to compliance as soon as is possible.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 20th, 2012 at 11:15pm
    I take on board the fact that GPs may be in a contractual agreement but surely they must carry the can so to speak, they greedily signed up for the programme. If this was in private sector the company that agreed to a contract must suffer the consequences. I am sure that the government wouldn't agree to them being on the wrong side of the law because they made an unpopular business decision.
    GPs have dragged their heals long enough it is time that this daylight robbery stopped and patients should be treated with respect. I am sure that the majority of patients do not realise that they are being ROBBED every time they called the doctors surgery

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 21st, 2012 at 12:47am

    bazzerfewi wrote on Jan 20th, 2012 at 11:15pm:
    I take on board the fact that GPs may be in a contractual agreement but surely they must carry the can so to speak, they greedily signed up for the programme. If this was in private sector the company that agreed to a contract must suffer the consequences. I am sure that the government wouldn't agree to them being on the wrong side of the law because they made an unpopular business decision.
    GPs have dragged their heals long enough it is time that this daylight robbery stopped and patients should be treated with respect. I am sure that the majority of patients do not realise that they are being ROBBED every time they called the doctors surgery

    You are right in all that say and it is indeed the civil law that is involved in the GP/NHS contracts, as would apply to the private sector.  They must "carry the can".

    As I understand the situation, where the terms of any contract are varied, a court would throw out any attempt to enforce a new requirement that was "unreasonable". That is why the action demanded is qualified in this way.

    I cannot however see how any GP could claim that it is unreasonable to be required to meet the cost of its chosen telephone system without the benefit of subsidy at the expense of patients. This is, of course, what the majority of GPs do.


    I suspect that there are far more patients who recognise that they are being robbed than are prepared to stand up and make a fuss about it after their practice has claimed to be compliant with regulations. It is a very bold step to tell your GP that they have lied to you. I want to give those people the confidence to make themselves heard.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 21st, 2012 at 7:03am

    Dave wrote on Jan 19th, 2012 at 8:34pm:
    BBC Coventry & Warwickshire will be covering the subject of GPs with 084 phone numbers tomorrow morning.

    At 9:30 Coventry North East MP Bob Ainsworth will be on and at 10:20 a campaigner will be on air. You can listen in on 94.8FM, 103.7FM, 104FM or DAB. The station can also be heard online here.

    Members might like to listen to the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire programme which went out on 1st November, and featured Mark Pawsey MP and some campaigners.

    A recording of the relevant portions of the broadcast on Friday 20 January is now available to hear online.

    A news release and MP briefing covering the debate has been distributed and published. Members and readers may wish to lobby their own MPs to support the debate and perhaps contribute.

    Some interest has already been excited in Essex - Campaigners welcome Commons debate on 0844 numbers.


    For those wishing to attend the debate in person, there is public access. Anyone planning a public demonstration should consult the Police immediately.

    The debate will be covered live online via http://www.parliamentlive.tv/. A permanent archive is retained on that site also.

    BBC Parliament will be broadcasting the debate at around 9.00 a.m. on Saturday 28 January.

    A record of the proceedings will be available in Hansard and on http://www.theyworkforyou.com at some point on Wednesday.


    (Perhaps a new thread should be opened in the forum to cover this particular national and general topic. It would need to contain this and all previous postings.)


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 23rd, 2012 at 7:28am
    Further to the previous posting, a proposal has been published to suggest how the government may respond to the debate on Tuesday.

    This is summarised, and linked to, here.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 23rd, 2012 at 11:16pm
    I have listened to a number of the broadcasts and even the MPs are not aware of the exact terminology :(

    But it is fantastic that they are now taking the issue of 08 numbers seriously

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jan 24th, 2012 at 1:40am
    I totally agree bazzerfewi

    I have just sent this latest SCV post as with the previous one with the links to my Contact in a PCT where all the info I have sent is received with great interest and I understand vigerous action is immenent.

    I have always said that most of the wording from DoH to PCTs was so wishy washy and with no info as to where to turn for expert advice this is the result. That is mostly the reason GP's were able to get away with handing a Compliance Letter from NEG/Daisy to PCTs' that didnt understand that NEG/Daisy were pulling a fast one with the assistance of BMA who should know better, all the while leading the way by having an 0844 on board and extoling its virtues and backing GPs pockets against Patients Phone Bills and distress. Shame on the BMA

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 24th, 2012 at 9:57am
    To watch and listen to the 30 minute Westminister Hall debate live at 12:30 today visit:

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=9855

    The same link will show a recording of the whole of the session in Westminister Hall about 15 minutes after it concludes at 2.00.

    I am told that adding "&st=12:30:00" to the link will start the playback at 12:30.

    Hopefully, when we know precisely when the debate begins we will be able to post a precise link to see the recording.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 24th, 2012 at 6:07pm
    The adjornment debate can be watched on Parliament TV here.

    There were some excellent points made. The Minister said that patients can help by presenting evidence that their calls have cost more. Bob Ainsworth rightly pointed out that the patients that pay more are often those on mobiles who wouldn't raise the issue. Others may be louthed to offend their doctor, and therefore may well be put off from speaking up.

    The Health Minister also said that the figure of 1,300 surgeries on outlawed telephone numbers was often bounded about, but that his Department has seen no evidence of it despite making enquiries !!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 24th, 2012 at 8:06pm
    I have just been listening with interest to the radio broadcast in regard to Bob Ainsworth raising the Doctors surgery campaign.I was astounded to then learn that the radio station quoted a 0845 number 08459005200

    Granted they are better that 0844 number but
    WHAT  HYPCRITS

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 24th, 2012 at 8:23pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Jan 24th, 2012 at 8:06pm:
    I have just been listening with interest to the radio broadcast in regard to Bob Ainsworth raising the Doctors surgery campaign.I was astounded to then learn that the radio station quoted a 0845 number 08459005200

    Granted they are better that 0844 number but
    WHAT  HYPCRITS

    This is a common problem with coverage on BBC local radio. The point is always made - there was a gentle brief reference to "a certain radio station" needing to consider migration to 034 on this occasion. On balance, I am grateful that they are prepared to give coverage to the bigger issue, rather than avoiding it due to the danger of being seen to be hypocritical.

    Coverage of the issue does not excuse their continuing use of an inappropriate number, but I would rather that they exposed themselves to the risk of this accusation than that they showing consistency by refusing to cover it. Hypocrisy may be a sin, but a readiness to face accusations of hypocrisy may be a virtue.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Jan 24th, 2012 at 8:28pm
    I have now listened to all the radio stations on the link that was sent and I am very concerned.

    Richard Vaultery head of the Leeds PCT was defending the fact that Doctors had paid out cash and what's more they are contractually obliged to carry on.

    My fear is that there are too many so called experts that defend this procedure but in fact they are not experts in this field.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 24th, 2012 at 9:47pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Jan 24th, 2012 at 8:28pm:
    ... Richard Vaultery head of the Leeds PCT ...

    Richard Vautrey is neither "head of the Leeds PCT", nor is he, as he was described, the Deputy Chairman of the BMA.

    He is a partner in a Leeds General Practice and Deputy Chairman of the General Practitioner's Committee of the BMA. In the latter role, he is the chief negotiator for GPs when revisions to the terms of their contracts are proposed. He is a user and defender of Surgery Line.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Jan 25th, 2012 at 12:30am

    Dave wrote on Jan 24th, 2012 at 6:07pm:
    The Health Minister also said that the figure of 1,300 surgeries on outlawed telephone numbers was often bounded about, but that his Department has seen no evidence of it


    They obviously didn't see this: 
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ahj34-jsbIWldFU4OUpiaE1RM3hHcENHOUExaGxqN1E
    which "provides details of the 1423 GP surgeries in the UK listed by "the NHS" as using 084 numbers, with links to source data."

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 25th, 2012 at 2:03am
    Further to previous comments, and with acknowledgement of the suggested theme, I have commented on Mr Burns's reading problem - Government blind to NHS GP contract breaches.

    He actually misread my briefing paper which refers to "nearly 1300 surgeries", not "1300 practices" - the number listed is 1292, although there are some deletions pending and further updates may be necessary.

    I include there a link to a clip of the relevant comments and raise a possible political reason for this odd failure to see, not just nearly 1300 cases, but "any evidence of this".

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jan 25th, 2012 at 2:55am

    Quote:
    I am told that adding "&st=12:30:00" to the link will start the playback at 12:30.


    I found that this didnt work for me - perhaps I did it incorrectly but I found another way to get to the required point that I have used on other filmed sites.

    This to find the 'Play time line' as I call it and in this particular case it is called 'Seek' - it is a blue oblong directly above the Stop button and if is dragged to the Right, will slowly forward the images - in this case it needs to be dragged to just over 1/2 way across and you will find the Debate on Small Businesses and is just a matter of finding the end of that particular Debate Section.

    I found this worked well for me so didnt have to wait through the earlier parts. 

    There was one part which I was interested in whilst listening and working on how to advance it to 0844 and that was about the part about how sections of the NHS are going to be 'Localised' I am trying to obtain the Section on this from my Local Borough's Annual Overview Document, Iam concerned because this Localising will probably lead to vastly differing quality of Service unless there is more strict
    monitoring than the PCTs' have shown to have done with regard to 0844



    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 25th, 2012 at 8:56am
    The full text of yesterday's debate is now available in Hansard:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120124/halltext/120124h0002.htm#12012442000001.


    UPDATE

    I have published comments on selected quoted portions, with particular reference to government policy.


    UPDATE

    I have now published a blog entry to present the impassioned plea from Simon Burns,
    who is itching to ensure enforcement of the rules of the NHS,  ::)
    but is hindered by nobody being willing or able to help him :'(.

    ;)

    If members and guests could assist by encouraging everyone who could be able to help Mr Burns, to view his video appeal (along with his contact details and further advice), then it may be that he will get some sufficiently precise and concrete items of readable evidence.

    Please note that I am only publishing the appeal that Mr Burns made to "the right hon. Gentleman [Bob Ainsworth], and to anyone else who has an interest in this important subject".

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 27th, 2012 at 3:59am
    Some coverage in both a regional and local newspaper.

    Locals may wish to attack, add to or follow-up on the respective comments.

    More may follow from this organ.


    I must urge all readers to respond to the passionate request from Simon Burns, as referred to above, and invite others to do the same. Mr Burns appears to need 1300 responses at the very least.

    This has been presented as a "challenge" - so the tone for the responses has been set by the manner in which they have been invited.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Golf_Paul 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!

    :-/  :-/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Golf_Paul on 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  >:(


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


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on 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-surgery-cash/discussion-15062646-detail/discussion.html

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on 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

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on 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. >:( >:( >:(


    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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Barbara 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Feb 24th, 2012 at 12:36pm
    Does anyone have a clue as to what the 2nd sentence means?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on 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.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on 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).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Feb 24th, 2012 at 5:44pm

    Quote:
    We believe that decisions about local services are best taken locally, where the local situation and local priorities are best understood.

    Err, whatever happened to the National Health Service?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Heinz on Feb 24th, 2012 at 8:27pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on 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).

    Nice comment David.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Feb 24th, 2012 at 9:49pm
    DISCUSTING!!!!!!!!!! >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

    What can be done other than what has been done already

    I await suggestions from the more experienced members

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Feb 27th, 2012 at 1:20am
    At long last something that appears to have a new set of choppers from DoH - perhaps this latest will get these Fat Cats at the Head of NHS Bodies off their Collective Fat Axxxs and get their Job done - They are paid more than enough Now Earn It  >:( - I queried of SCV why no Deadline Date and was told that the Terms are for Immediate Action.

    This has obviously been worded - albeit with a couple of errors - by people that have a reasonably good knowledge of the internal workings of the problem for which we must be very gratefull - It will be very interesting to see how the NHS Fat Cats try and wriggle out of this one.  8-)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Mar 1st, 2012 at 8:28pm
    Source: East Grinstead Courier and Observer

    Patients hit by soaring bills when calling GPs

    Thursday, March 01, 2012

    PATIENTS in the East Grinstead area claim they are paying a fortune to dial "premium-rate telephone numbers" to reach their GPs.

    Two surgeries – Judges Close and Lingfield – have 0844 numbers, which patients have to use to talk to their doctor or make an appointment.


    […]

    A spokesman for Judges Close Surgery said it had been assured calls would cost no more than the BT standard rate from a landline.

    […]

    A spokesman for NHS Sussex told the Courier & Observer the 0844 numbers should not be costing patients any more.

    She said: "All of our GP practices in Sussex have met their obligations under both the terms of the Government's guidance and the relevant legislation relating to their contact telephone number.

    "While some of our practices use non-geographical telephone numbers – often beginning 0844 – patients are charged a maximum of the local/geographical rate.

    "Patients' own telephone contracts may allow them cheaper, or even free, calls to geographical numbers. Our practices are aware of this and many have stated that they will take it into consideration when reviewing their telephone contracts.

    "Some practices choose to use non-geographical numbers because of the additional functionality they provide. They can eliminate the engaged tone and provide other call-switching functions, helping them to handle the large number of calls they receive."



    One surgery says that it had been "assured calls would cost no more than the BT standard rate from a landline". "Standard" BT rates have not existed since 2004. It chose to move breach its contract last April when it introduced its 0844 387 "g11" number. The DH has clearly said that the regulations apply to calls from all landlines, mobiles and payphones and not just one particular tariff from one provider.

    The PCT is happily allowing surgeries to flout the ban as it admits that some "may" pay less whilst claiming that they comply!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Mar 2nd, 2012 at 5:39am
    How can surgeries keep stating facts that are not true, I have also contacted Dan Jaris MP again and he has chosen to ignore my message

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by devon jack on Mar 2nd, 2012 at 7:50pm

    devon jack wrote on Dec 15th, 2011 at 10:19pm:

    devon jack wrote on Dec 13th, 2011 at 6:43pm:
    Our Health Centre has just (5 Dec 2011) introduced an 0844 number (see http://www.wallingbrook.co.uk/) and this is the only way to contact the surgery or dispensary. They don't even display any email addresses on their website.
    I've complained to NHS Devon and they are looking into it. Any suggestions how to get it changed back to a geographic number? As I have a BT all inclusive calls contract then it will cost me to phone them rather than being part of my BT free calls.
    I also gather that if they call you back then there is also a charge to the patient, but not proved that yet.

    Well done for complaining, I look forward to the response. I find it absolutely staggering that practices are even now introducing 0844 numbers, long after this was effectively banned, and compounding it by including nonsense like "Calls will be charged at LOCAL RATE. Calls from mobiles may be higher or lower depending on the network provider" alongside the new number. What planet are they on?
    The PCT is investigating our health centre and have told them to produce definitive proof after one month that the claim that patients pay no more than calling a geographic number is true. They will now also include references to "inclusive calls" deals where calls are effectively prepaid for 01/02/03.
    I got an info sheet today which states (literally, including the obvious grammatical errors provided by NEG)
    "Patients calling surgery line from a BT landline pay no more than the cost of calling an equivalent geographic number, other providers may charge differently. Calls from mobile may vary please contact your mobile operator for more detail"
    I think that is an admission that if not using a BT landline then the calls are more expensive!!
    Another aspect I read today is that when using "Surgery Line" from NEG, the patient doesn't get an engaged tone - ie is charged for hanging on when nobody can take the call, instead of just hanging up at no charge and calling again later.

    SUCCESS
    We now have a new number 01769 580295
    Here is an extract from the surgery newsletter

    Quote:
    ..we acknowledge that we have been ill advised by the Telephone Company regarding the call charges. In order to address this issue we now have an additional number, 01769 580295, which runs alongside the 0844 number. This will drop into the menu system in the same way, the only difference being when all the lines are busy you will not be held in a queue but will get the engaged tone. Patients will need to seek advice from their call provider as to which number will be the cheapest for them to use.



    ~ Edited by Dave: Link added to quote box and link to surgery newsletter added

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Mar 8th, 2012 at 9:47pm
    An interesting development can be reported, although with some reservation.

    The 111 service is currently being piloted in Luton, County Durham and Darlington, Lincolnshire, Nottingham City, the Isle of Wight, parts of Derbyshire and parts of Lancashire.

    I have heard today of someone, in one of these areas being advised by a NHS official to avoid paying a premium to call his GP on a 0844 number by calling 111 and asking to be put through to his GP. Apparently this worked without any question. This was during normal surgery hours and there was nothing special about the nature of the enquiry.


    This is not how the 111 service (which is free to call for all) is supposed to work. It is however having its scope grossly extended in a way that, although obviously welcome for those who benefit, is probably not in the best interests of the NHS, and therefore ultimately patients in general.

    Although I have my reservations, I would not be so churlish as to withhold this information insofar as I know that this has worked for one caller on two separate occasions.


    Outside surgery hours, 111 will make a connection with the appropriate "out of hours" service, but the advised procedure is that calls which can be handled by a GP surgery should be made directly and not through 111, which is intended only for urgent needs.

    I would be interested to hear of any other experiences from those in the pilot areas. As further pilots will be commencing shortly, even though the proposed roll out will now be held back pending analysis of the experiences of the pilots, this could be a very interesting way of getting the issue of GPs with expensive numbers exposed.


    Of course, if 111 is to allow non-urgent access to a GP surgery, then anyone who pays for a call to their GP, whatever number they are using, would be advised to go via 111 if it is available.

    Once again, this is not a policy that I would advocate or approve of, however I feel that I must report what I know, as it may enable some to avoid the improper treatment they suffer as a result of GPs being allowed to continue using 084 numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Mar 12th, 2012 at 1:14pm
    Patients assured over 0844 numbers


    Published on Monday 12 March 2012 11:18

    PATIENTS across the district have been reassured this week that calls to their doctors’ surgeries do not cost more

    than a local rate number.

    A Horsham patient contacted this paper with concerns about his surgery breaking Government guidelines by requesting patients to call an 0844 number to make appointments or other enquiries.

    NHS Sussex has made clear that the way these numbers are set up means they should not cost people more than a call to a normal landline.

    A spokesman said: “All of our GP practices in Sussex have met their obligations under both the terms of the Government’s guidance and the relevant legislation relating to their contact telephone number.

    “While some of our practices use non-geographical telephone numbers - often beginning 0844 - patients are charged a maximum of the local or geographical rate.

    “Patients’ own telephone contracts may allow them cheaper, or even free, calls to geographical numbers.

    “Our practices are aware of this and many have stated that they will take it into consideration when reviewing their telephone contracts.”

    They added that surgeries often use the 0844 numbers because they carry other benefits for patients.

    “Some practices choose to use telephone systems with non-geographical numbers because of the additional functionality they provide.

    “They can eliminate the engaged tone and provide other call switching functions, helping them to handle the large number of calls they receive.”


    http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/patients-assured-over-0844-numbers-1-3615424

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Mar 12th, 2012 at 8:03pm

    sherbert wrote on Mar 12th, 2012 at 1:14pm:
    While some of our practices use non-geographical telephone numbers - often beginning 0844 - patients are charged a maximum of the local or geographical rate.

    A straightforward lie, no messing about  >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:18am

    kasg wrote on Mar 12th, 2012 at 8:03pm:

    sherbert wrote on Mar 12th, 2012 at 1:14pm:
    While some of our practices use non-geographical telephone numbers - often beginning 0844 - patients are charged a maximum of the local or geographical rate.

    A straightforward lie, no messing about  >:(

    Sadly, there is lots of messing about. The quoted statement is clearly referring to some charge that does actually affect what callers pay. The truth follows in the next quoted paragraph from the article:


    Quote:
    Patients’ own telephone contracts may allow them cheaper, or even free, calls to geographical numbers.

    The above is the statement that matters. It makes the following statement untrue:


    Quote:
    All of our GP practices in Sussex have met their obligations under both the terms of the Government’s guidance and the relevant legislation relating to their contact telephone number.


    It may sound stupid, but PCTs such as those which comprise NHS Sussex have failed to recognise that it is what callers actually pay which has to be considered.

    Many PCTs have been misled into believing that there is such a thing as a standard "local or geographic" rate and a standard rate for calling a particular 0844 number, which can be set by the GP in conjunction with their telephone service provider, and that these can be used as the basis for determining compliance.

    This type of mistaken thinking is what lies behind bizarre statements such as:


    Quote:
    NHS Sussex has made clear that the way these numbers are set up means they should not cost people more than a call to a normal landline.

    This suggests that there is something "set up" about the cost of telephone calls. What is set up for 0844 numbers is the extreme likelihood that they will cost people more than a call to a normal landline, because of the "revenue share", which is an additional cost to the call originator. This is exactly what is seen in practice, apart from exceptional cases where calls to geographic numbers are subject to a "out of plan" penalty charge.


    The word "should" can imply a duty under regulation, whereas in this case it refers only to the views of some people about regulations that they would wish to see imposed. We can all say what we think other people "should" do.

    NHS Sussex may think that BT should not offer call inclusive packages and that those who choose 0844 numbers should be provided with a subsidy at the expense of all telephone users, rather than those who call them. What it cannot do is assume that its wishes have been fulfilled when they have not.

    I would question why a PCT is forming views about issues of telecommunications regulation and voicing them only in response to a challenge about its failure to perform its proper duties. Furthermore, as the views expressed are somewhat extreme and most unlikely ever to get adopted as policy by Ofcom and implemented in practice, I would also question whether it adequately understands the issues.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:41am
    Source: Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press

    Outrage at surgery’s use of premium lines

    Monday 12 March 2012 18:00

    Adrian Audis, senior contracts manager for NHS Lincolnshire said: “Following the publication The NHS (Primary Medical Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2010, NHS Lincolnshire received written confirmation from all GP surgeries in Lincolnshire using 0844, confirming that patients are not being charged any more than the geographical rate.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:30pm

    Dave wrote on Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:41am:
    Source: Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press

    Outrage at surgery’s use of premium lines

    Monday 12 March 2012 18:00

    Adrian Audis, senior contracts manager for NHS Lincolnshire said: “Following the publication The NHS (Primary Medical Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2010, NHS Lincolnshire received written confirmation from all GP surgeries in Lincolnshire using 0844, confirming that patients are not being charged any more than the geographical rate.

    As with the other example, quoted above where a similar statement is made, this written confirmation is of no value. It is neither provided by those who levy the charges on the patients and other callers, nor from anyone who can demonstrate any competent awareness of what they pay.

    I would happily provide anyone with written confirmation that I do not charge callers to GP surgeries any more for calls to international destinations or the highest rated "Premium Rate Service" calls than I do for geographic calls - because I do not provide telephone service to them. I am confident in asserting that the author of the "written confirmation" referred to is in exactly the same position as me.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Mar 14th, 2012 at 7:50am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:18am:

    kasg wrote on Mar 12th, 2012 at 8:03pm:

    sherbert wrote on Mar 12th, 2012 at 1:14pm:
    While some of our practices use non-geographical telephone numbers - often beginning 0844 - patients are charged a maximum of the local or geographical rate.

    A straightforward lie, no messing about  >:(

    Sadly, there is lots of messing about. …

    Following the extensive analysis of the reported views of NHS Sussex given in my quoted comments, I have followed up on the truth of the situation with NHS Sussex.

    This has led me to add the following comment to the County Times article.


    Quote:
    This article reflects a seriously confused and mistaken position being adopted by NHS Sussex. I understand that recently issued "Further Guidance" from the Department of Health is now being consulted and its position is being re-assessed. I hope that the County Times will shortly be able to report a more accurate and proper position being taken by those who are charged with managing the provision of NHS primary care services in the County. The "reassurance" referred to is quite simply false and mistaken.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Mar 21st, 2012 at 7:38pm
    Members may be interested to see this list of 56 surgeries that moved to 0844 numbers since the ban came into effect on 1st April 2010. There are still plenty of GPs who are jumping on the bandwagon.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Mar 27th, 2012 at 11:44am
    Brockworth Surgery has introduced a geographic number to run alongside its 0844 g6 Business Rate number. The Microsoft Word document explaining it says the geographic number is more likely to be engaged.

    Here's the table that forms the main part of that page:

    Quote:
    0844 477 3589 01452 862247
    We set up this number some years ago after we received complaints that our phone number was always engaged. This number has a special call stacking system so that you should not receive the engaged tone You may find that this number is more likely to be engaged. Keep re-dialling – once connected you will be in the same system as the 0844 number
    When dialling from certain networks this number may be more expensive – please check with your network supplier – surprisingly a lot of suppliers are no more expensive or even cheaper on this number than using the 01452 number For some suppliers this is the cheaper option when ringing the surgery – check with your supplier
    It is difficult or not possible to ring this number from outside the UK Ringing from outside the UK is the same as for any other UK  number
    Analysis of government patient satisfaction surveys show that patients at surgeries who use 0844 numbers find it easier to get through on the phone, easier to speak to a doctor and to get test results ( information from NEG Phone Supplier) When using a local number it may be more difficult to connect to the surgery

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Apr 5th, 2012 at 10:52am
    NEG are not giving up their fight to ensure that Doctors make a profit out of people calling their surgeries:

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/non-geo-numbers/summary/Partb.pdf


    Quote:
    11.27 [Redacted] ... argued that the revenue share restriction on 03 numbers should be lifted.  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  Similarly NEG argued that revenue-share should be permitted on 03, noting that the take-up of 03 by doctors surgeries had been limited to date because of the absence of that revenue-sharing and in particular because of the contribution of that revenue towards infrastructure costs (i.e. enabling surgeries to provide enhanced telephony solutions such as call waiting).

    I wonder who "Redacted" is?


    Quote:
    11.84 NEG considered that Ofcom’s proposals could actually reduce consumer confidence in the 084 range and increase confusion because it would not enable Primary Care Organisations using 084 numbers for which a patient paid no more than an equivalent geographic rate to be distinguished from any other 084 numbers where the cost to call was significantly more. It believed this would lead to all 084 numbers in the NHS being unfairly and inaccurately perceived as being far more costly for patients to call than 01, 02 or 03 numbers, even when in some cases the opposite was true.


    Clearly, NEG are still promoting activities which have been banned under NHS contracts since April 2010.


    There's probably a few other gems to be found in that 450 page consultation and the additional 400 pages of annexes.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 6th, 2012 at 11:53am
    On the anniversary of the ban, there was a short report in the Sheffield Star in which local MP Clive Betts says that his constituents have written to him about this matter:

    Sheffield GPs’ expensive phone numbers

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Apr 7th, 2012 at 3:38pm
    I have just read the weak reply have none of the MPs got any back bone any more.

    I have had the same problem with Dan Jarvis MP for Barnsley Central - he has stopped responding to my messages. >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:03pm
    My own feeling is that the only way forward is to challenge this through the judicial system. Unlike the current participants, who all appear to absolve themselves from any responsibility, courts rely on evidence, which in this matter, is overwhelming and demonstrable. I am, however, sufficiently unfamiliar with the UK legal system to offer any suggestion. Perhaps someone who has incurred a large cost when calling from a cellular service could start county court action against a surgery/PCT/some other body, simply as a 'test case'.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm
    Sounds like a good idea but the only problem is that most of the SAYNO members will not have accumulated a large outstanding bill because by our nature we avoid calling expensive numbers.

    Have we come to the end of the line with this or can anybody suggest the next productive move

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:39pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm:
    Sounds like a good idea but the only problem is that most of the SAYNO members will not have accumulated a large outstanding bill because by our nature we avoid calling expensive numbers.

    Have we come to the end of the line with this or can anybody suggest the next productive move

    People can make a test telephone call to one of these numbers in order to demonstrate that their provider charges in accordance with its published pricing information. I would not think that evidence would have to come in the form of many many calls on one's bill where it is necessary to demonstrate that a provider charges in accordance with its pricing information.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:45pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:39pm:

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm:
    Sounds like a good idea but the only problem is that most of the SAYNO members will not have accumulated a large outstanding bill because by our nature we avoid calling expensive numbers.

    Have we come to the end of the line with this or can anybody suggest the next productive move

    People can make a test telephone call to one of these numbers in order to demonstrate that their provider charges in accordance with its published pricing information. I would not think that evidence would have to come in the form of many many calls on one's bill where it is necessary to demonstrate that a provider charges in accordance with its pricing information.


    Sorry Dave I think I am missing something here "which numbers are you refering to" please excuse my ignorance if I have totally missed the point

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:49pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm:
    Sounds like a good idea but the only problem is that most of the SAYNO members will not have accumulated a large outstanding bill because by our nature we avoid calling expensive numbers.
    Indeed, but may be worth racking up a couple of pounds in calls and then put it to the test. The guidelines and advice are clear, even to a lay person.


    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm:
    Have we come to the end of the line with this or can anybody suggest the next productive move
    I believe there is not much more that can be done. Parliamentary discussion yielded little, if any, progress. The judiciary is the only way forward that I can see. There has to be a reader of this forum who has a law degree and can advise whether legal options are suitable.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:50pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:45pm:

    Dave wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:39pm:

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:35pm:
    Sounds like a good idea but the only problem is that most of the SAYNO members will not have accumulated a large outstanding bill because by our nature we avoid calling expensive numbers.

    Have we come to the end of the line with this or can anybody suggest the next productive move

    People can make a test telephone call to one of these numbers in order to demonstrate that their provider charges in accordance with its published pricing information. I would not think that evidence would have to come in the form of many many calls on one's bill where it is necessary to demonstrate that a provider charges in accordance with its pricing information.


    Sorry Dave I think I am missing something here "which numbers are you refering to" please excuse my ignorance if I have totally missed the point

    I am referring to the numbers which we are saying are banned; those beginning 084.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:58pm
    It goes against the grain but I could make a call to all surgeries within the Barnsley area and provide evidence that surgeries are still flouting the law when the bill is produced.

    I could then produce the evidence to DAN JARVIS MP - surely then he would have to act on the case.

    Maybe other members could do the same

    What are your thoughts please

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:07pm
    The relevant clause is...

    29B.2.2. if the Contractor so considers, take all reasonable steps, including in particular considering the matters specified in sub-clause 29B.3, to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

    I suggest that is a trivial matter to demonstrate that a call to a surgery's 0844 number from almost any given cellular tariff will cost more than a similar call to a geographic number. If so, the surgery is in violation of the DH guidelines. Furthermore, this provides what I, as a lay person, would assume to be prima facie evidence, sufficient to prove the facts before a court.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:12pm

    idb wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:07pm:
    The relevant clause is...

    29B.2.2. if the Contractor so considers, take all reasonable steps, including in particular considering the matters specified in sub-clause 29B.3, to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

    I suggest that is a trivial matter to demonstrate that a call to a surgery's 0844 number from almost any given cellular tariff will cost more than a similar call to a geographic number. If so, the surgery is in violation of the DH guidelines. Furthermore, this provides what I, as a lay person, would assume to be prima facie evidence, sufficient to prove the facts before a court.

    Evidence is in the form of the pricing literature from call providers.

    On the basis that we may have to go to the lengths of calling these numbers, it would seem that there are those who do not believe (or will not accept) that call providers charge in accordance to their published pricing information.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:23pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:58pm:
    It goes against the grain but I could make a call to all surgeries within the Barnsley area and provide evidence that surgeries are still flouting the law when the bill is produced.

    I could then produce the evidence to DAN JARVIS MP - surely then he would have to act on the case.

    Maybe other members could do the same

    What are your thoughts please
    I suggest that someone could call a 0844 surgery for a couple of minutes from a mobile service and then ask for a refund of the additional cost over the geographic rate. When the surgery refuses, which it almost certainly will, it could then (perhaps) be subject to legal action in a county court / small claims court or whatever is appropriate. It may cost twenty pounds or so to initiate a claim, but it means that the evidence would have to be considered by someone whose job it is to consider evidence and ignore BS, and unfortunately, BS is the name of this game when dealing with NEG. I managed, through the ASA, to force NEG to remove at least some of its advertising lies, without argument, from its web site.

    I'm more than happy to donate a tenner or so to any fighting fund for a test case, and I'm sure other regulars would do the same.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 8th, 2012 at 12:03am

    idb wrote on Apr 7th, 2012 at 5:03pm:
    My own feeling is that the only way forward is to challenge this through the judicial system.
    … also noting the subsequent comments.

    It is a trivial matter to obtain the evidence to show that a call to a 084 number is more expensive for many than an equivalent call to a geographic number. If one is talking about legal action, then the question is about what action can be taken, by who against whom.

    I offer a quick outline of the judicial position as I understand it.

    Breach of contract by GPs

    GPs using 084 numbers are in breach of the terms of their contracts with the PCT, as published here.
    (This covers those with GMS contracts, those with PMS contracts are subject to identical requirements.)

    The breach may be occurring in one of three ways:
    [olist]
  • If the practice adopted a 084 number after 1 April 2010, it failed to properly satisfy itself about the cost of calling this number ("having regard to the arrangement as a whole"). It probably disregarded a significant number of callers.
     
  • If it was using a 084 number on 1 April 2010, it failed to properly consider the cost of calling this number ("having regard to the arrangement as a whole"). It probably disregarded a significant number of callers.
     
  • In the second case it may have completed the consideration of the costs properly, but failed to adequately consider the option of varying the terms of its contract (e.g. by arranging migration to a 03 number from the same provider) and failed to take a "reasonable step" open to it.[/olist]
    With regard to the third item, I have made a Freedom of Information request to cover any evidence of "unreasonable" charges being proposed for migration to 03. Not one PCT holds any such evidence.

    If a PCT wishes to take action against a practice in breach of the terms of its contract, there is a procedure to be followed. I am not aware of any way that a third party (i.e. a patient) may themselves pursue enforcement of a contract between a practice and the PCT.

    Breach of duty by a PCT

    PCTs are under a statutory duty to enforce the terms of the GP contracts and in doing so to "have regard to the NHS Constitution". I believe that any PCT which fails to take appropriate action to enforce the terms of the GP contract is failing in that duty.

    The only formal way in which legal action against a PCT could be instigated is through the process of "Judicial Review". This must be based on the damage caused to one or more specific individuals by the action of a public body.

    The alternative

    A better alternative, although not itself a legal action, is a complaint to the Health Service and Parliamentary Ombudsman. Complaints against a NHS contractor or body fall into the simpler process, which does not require the involvement of the complainants MP.

    I am aware of two cases where such complaints are in process over this matter, with nothing positive to report at this stage.

    Views on the strength of the requirements

    The BMA claims to believe that GPs may take an assurance from an interested party as being adequate to discharge their duty to make a determination about call costs.

    NEG claims to believe that a highly selective approach can be taken to making the call cost determination and guides its customers accordingly.

    The DH is confident that the terms of the contract are enforceable and that the interpretation offered in its Further Guidance is a fair expression of how the issues would be judged by a court (if necessary).

    It is for each PCT to determine whether or not to pursue an action against a GP. Many have stated the view that those using 084 numbers are not in breach. Others have determined that if they have obtained an assurance that existing contracts will not be renewed then they have taken adequate action.

    My position

    I believe that all those who use 084 numbers are in breach of their contracts and that this undermines a vital principle of the NHS - that it is funded by us through our taxation, not through charges imposed as we access NHS services. Because of the importance of that principle, especially in the light of current reforms, it is vital that no tolerance of its abuse be shown.

    I am keen to support anyone who wishes to pursue an effective complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. This could be against a particular practice, but it would have a wider impact if against a PCT.

    Likewise, if anyone can find a lawyer willing and able to undertake a JR case against the Chief Executive of a Cluster of PCTs on a pro bono basis.

    Contributions from other interested parties may be helpful, but I firmly believe that any action must originate from one or more patients who continue to incur unacceptable charges for contacting their GP. This may not be strictly necessary under the law, but it will make a successful outcome far more likely.

  • Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Apr 8th, 2012 at 12:16am
    Could I ask catj to look at the Link in his Post stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultation etc.etc it is not now working - I did the Diagnostic Report button but it is gobbledy gook to me perhaps you could see if it has been removed/blocked etc or whether it is my end - if it is removed/blocked is there any other way of viewing it -I have a glimmer of an idea and would like to be able to access if this available.

    Perhaps SCV has it somewhere on his Blogg which I can access.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 4th, 2012 at 10:56pm
    Here is a recent letter to the West Sussex County Times:

    Hold on a minute

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 5th, 2012 at 4:10pm
    Lilliput Surgery is another practice that offers a local number on its NHS Choices profile contact page.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on May 6th, 2012 at 2:38am
    It looks like NEG/Daisy are going ahead with advising GPs to put an extra line with a geographic number alongside their 0844 - It shows what Dummies these GPs must be to be taken in once again - when all they had to do was migrate to 03 with minimal effort and money spent. Instead they are paying again for the extra geo line- NEG/Daisy are making More Profit and People that are not online dont know if the GP keep quiet about it

    But they are still in breach of the GMS Contract by advertising the 0844 at all - especially when they call it a local rate number in breach of Trading Standards I hope in same way that 0845 is not Local or Lo-call  >:(

    Our NHS is going to be in the hands of these Dummies - the sooner the EU Directiv that show them up for fools the better.  :o

    Dave I couldnt find a geo number on either of the 2 links - have they taken it down already or just done a very good job hiding it.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 6th, 2012 at 6:52am

    speedy wrote on May 6th, 2012 at 2:38am:
    It looks like NEG/Daisy are going ahead with advising GPs to put an extra line with a geographic number alongside their 0844 - It shows what Dummies these GPs must be to be taken in once again - when all they had to do was migrate to 03 with minimal effort and money spent. Instead they are paying again for the extra geo line- NEG/Daisy are making More Profit and People that are not online dont know if the GP keep quiet about it

    Indeed. The fact that the surgery has acquired this geographic number for publication can only be because it knows that it is in breach of its contract by using a number that costs more to call. It could quite easily* switch to a 0344 number without the need to spend anything on an alternative in order to adhere to its contract with the NHS.

    * I say that this step could be done "easily". It is comman practice for telephone users to be allowed to switch from a 084 to 034 number within the terms of their contract. I have not seen any evidence to support the view that any provider of GP phone systems makes this difficult by imposing penalties on any customer that wishes to make such a move.

    The Variation to the GMS Contract that applies states:


    Quote:
    29B.2. The Contractor shall—
    29B.2.1. before 1st April 2011, review the arrangement and consider whether, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number, and

    29B.2.2. if the Contractor so considers, take all reasonable steps, including in particular considering the matters specified in sub-clause 29B.3, to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

    29B.3. The matters referred to in clause 29B.2.2. are—
    29B.3.1. varying the terms of the contract or arrangement,
    29B.3.2. renegotiating the contract or arrangement, and
    29B.3.3. terminating the contract or arrangement.

    29B.4. If, despite taking all reasonable steps referred to clause 29B.2.2, it has not been possible to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay any more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number, the Contractor must consider introducing a system under which if a caller asks to be called back, the Contractor will do so at the Contractor’s expense.

    As I say, clearly the surgery offers this alternative because it knows that "having regard to the arrangement as whole, persons pay more to make relevant calls".

    In which case, as 29B.2.2 says, it should take all "reasonable" steps to see that persons don't pay more. It has failed to do this as the 0844 number will still be being used by those who pay more. This means that Clause 29B.4. does not come into play because all reasonable steps have not been carried out.

    If a severe penalty is imposed by the phone system provider for switching to a 034 number, then clearly this would make it an "unreasonable" step. As I say, I've not heard of any company imposing such terms.



    speedy wrote on May 6th, 2012 at 2:38am:
    Dave I couldnt find a geo number on either of the 2 links - have they taken it down already or just done a very good job hiding it.

    It is only available on the NHS Choices page. After the 0844 telephone number it says "or 710013". It does not appear to be on the company's surgery's website.

    Title: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by DaveM on Jan 3rd, 2006 at 1:26pm
    Whilst I sympathise with the people that have had their Doctors Surgery change their number over to 0844, it is FUTILE for them to put their details in the ADD A NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER section if the old number is not working !

    I have had some 20 or so added over the last 6 months, all with the exact same problem and I'm afraid that there is absolutely nothing I can do except DELETE them as NOT WORKING !

    The item added today was for Wigmore Lane Health Centre, Luton. LU2 8BG run by Dr CDW Ellis & Partners, which has moved from 01582 483338 to 0844 4770958, the old number now just giving the new number repeatedly.

    Please don't give me 01582 707333 which is for the Health Centre & NOT the Doctors, likewise for 01582 481301 which is just for Dr. N Shankar.

    Anyone with any additional information or comments please add your sixpenneth.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jan 26th, 2007 at 4:18pm
    Recently we have had quite a few of these doctors surgeries added that all have 0844 477xxxx numbers, which seem to be synonymous with NEG Surgery Line. NEG also do School Line, a system adopted by Maghull High School, discussed here.

    All these requests have one thing in common and that is that they are virtually impossible to find alternatives for because the new numbers will not be known to anyone apart from NEG. Short of dialling all numbers in one area code, then there's little chance of finding the new number.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Grump on Jan 28th, 2007 at 4:27pm
    Hopefully the following will link to the online version of an article in our local paper. http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/newsindex/display.var.1152128.0.patients_facing_pricier_calls_to_gps.php  
    This is the result of a complaint to our local MP Philip Davies MP for Shipley West Yorkshire. (Conservative). Our local doctors surgery decided they would rather listen to the clever sales pitch of NEG than listen to the recommendations from on high via the NHS. We were able to stop the surgery advertising their new 0844 number as costing no more than a 01 number by complaining to Trading Standards. Trading Standards could not stop the surgery using a 0844 but agreed it was not what they would like to see. We hope our MP is successful in pursueing this cause and stopping the miss use of these telephone numbers.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jan 28th, 2007 at 6:11pm
    My surgery has not changed to one of these rip-off numbers, so I will email it to make it aware of the costs involved.

    Contact details of surgeries can be found on NHS' website.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by spotler on Feb 22nd, 2007 at 2:28pm
    Interesting to note the following from the NEG Surgery Line pamplet 'Kingshurst Medical Practice, Solihull / Case Study No. 33:'  Page 2

    http://www.networkeuropegroup.com/downloads/surgeryline-kingshurst.pdf


    Quote:
    When a surgery switches to an 084 number, NEG will install and maintain the most efficient communications system on the market. You specify exactly what equipment you want to receive (from handsets to switchboards) for no extra charge. With your own 084 number, you keep about 2p from every call to re-invest in your practice, instead of BT making all the profit from calls to your surgery.


    Note the profit being made by the surgery!! and the rationale behind the change :-?

    Title: Doctors Surgeries - SIGN THE PETITION
    Post by Heinz on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:28pm
    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NGN-use-by-GPs/

    Come on people, only 20 of us on there at the moment.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by a very nice man on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 5:51pm
    25 now.
    Still plenty of space for others to put their name.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by warweezil on Mar 30th, 2007 at 5:34pm
    I found out today that my GP practice (which is merging over the weekend in a spanking new health centre with 3 other practices) has also gone "08444", I put in a call to the local CHC seeking some justification for this and apparently I am getting a call back on Monday.

    I will be asking specifically if there is a revenue sharing element to the new call management system, and asking why people such as myself who have a "calls inclusive" plan (for which I pay a premium) are being penalised by this. We were not consulted about this, in fact there has been no communication to patients apart from a few notices stuck up on windows at the surgery.

    It was bad enough when the out of hours GP service went to one of those expensive and often hard to remember 08 numbers, its not as if they have the "national presence" excuse to fall back on - this is a local service exclusively serving local people. Its time this farce was stamped on once and for all.

    I am sick and tired of being "taxed" by organisations whenever I pick up my phone. maybe I should get one of those 07xxx personal numbers and give that out to all the organisations & businesses that expect me to ring them @ premium rate and see how they like it.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 30th, 2007 at 5:50pm

    warweezil wrote on Mar 30th, 2007 at 5:34pm:
    I found out today that my GP practice (which is merging over the weekend in a spanking new health centre with 3 other practices) has also gone "08444", I put in a call to the local CHC seeking some justification for this and apparently I am getting a call back on Monday.

    Get the facts. Put in a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if necessary. IIRC at least some surgeries receive 2p/min which is paid to the provider (often NEG). Some responses and guidance are in the FOI section of the forum.

    When you have this, contact your local newspapers and radio stations etc. One ongoing thread on here is for Chislehurst Medical Practice.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries - SIGN THE PETITION
    Post by Heinz on Mar 30th, 2007 at 7:49pm

    Heinz wrote on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:28pm:
    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NGN-use-by-GPs/

    Come on people, only 20 of us on there at the moment.

    Oh, why bother?

    Still only 41.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sisgb on Mar 30th, 2007 at 9:16pm
    My surgery in Guildford has recently changed to an 0844 number. I say recently because they didn't even bother to notify their patients, just left a mesage n the old number giving the new one. For me, I found out in an emergency involving my child, and ultimately requiring hospitalisation. If you have to ring the doctor in the middle of the night, the last thing you want is a message very slowly enunciating a completely different telephone number (who has a pen in their pyjamas?) and being told to call that. The new number has a very very long message on it before you are connected, presumably to maximise your length of call and thus their revenue.
    I have signed the petition I found on here- thank you. How else can I protest about this?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by warweezil on Apr 10th, 2007 at 1:48pm
    Had a call back from the CHC. They tell me that GP practicemanagers are at liberty to make such decisions, (not a good idea) and that the CHC has no input or influence.

    I am taking it further writing to the practice manager pointing out the OFCOM views on alternative number provison AND the local call description issue... oh and asking just how much they are raking off from this "telephone taxation".

    I will keep you posted.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by carolina on Apr 10th, 2007 at 6:05pm
    There are now 57 signatures - mine included. Not only do we have to pay for an 0844 number at our surgery, we also have to pay for the privilege of holding on for upwards of 15 minutes before we actually get through to the appointments line. It's a real rip off.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Apr 16th, 2007 at 12:15am
    I have just submitted a doctor's surgery in Hendon (NW London).  I found the number while waiting at the desk, where there was a list of direct lines on the wall to the doctors, and also to various departments (obviously for internal use).  I noticed the first number in the sequence was missing.  I tried it at home, and lo and behold it went through.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by dad2711 on Apr 16th, 2007 at 9:54pm
    Well done my freind ;)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Apr 16th, 2007 at 10:17pm
    I notice that the home page on this site is still urging people to "Sign the Petition!!"  --- although the Petition closed on April 4th.  

    Could this message be retained but with a link to the anti 0844 at Medical Practitioners Petition?  This utterley despicable practice of taxing sick and unwell people by phone should be stopped.  

    This Petition needs all the help and publicity it can get, having so far only gathered 66 signatures.  There must be tens of thousands of people now affected by these 0844 numbers.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Heinz on Apr 16th, 2007 at 10:49pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 16th, 2007 at 10:17pm:
    I notice that the home page on this site is still urging people to "Sign the Petition!!"  --- although the Petition closed on April 4th.  

    Could this message be retained but with a link to the anti 0844 at Medical Practitioners Petition?  This utterley despicable practice of taxing sick and unwell people by phone should be stopped.  

    This Petition needs all the help and publicity it can get, having so far only gathered 66 signatures.  There must be tens of thousands of people now affected by these 0844 numbers.

    You mean http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NGN-use-by-GPs/

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Apr 16th, 2007 at 11:42pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Apr 16th, 2007 at 12:15am:
    a list of direct lines on the wall to the doctors, and also to various departments (obviously for internal use).



    That is the thing to do when visiting any organisation that uses 0845/0870 numbers.  When you are at the reception desk, while taking interest in what the receptionist is saying have a look around behind the counter for any notes to staff about telephone numbers.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jgxenite on Apr 17th, 2007 at 9:39am
    It seems the "plague" has possibly spread further than we thought.

    http://www.nhs.uk/england/doctors/telephoneSearchResults.aspx?telephone=0844&page=20
    100 practices currently logged with the NHS as having 0844 telephone numbers.

    PS: I'm glad to say that neither of mine are on that list (so far anyway).

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by caj1956 on Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:42am
    my doctors replaced their number with an 0844 number some months ago.  At the time I expressed concerns at cost implications, to which the reeptionist was not at all helpful, apparently couldn't handle volume of calls with ordinary STD codes!!  Number now is too long to remember, unlike the previous 7 digit number.  Am I cynical or is it a way of cutting down on the amount of people going to the surgery?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jgxenite on Apr 17th, 2007 at 10:58am
    I shouldn't be surprised if that is half the reason... the other half is most likely because of the "great features and functionality" NEG brings with their 0844.

    Title: Rip-off Britain 0844....
    Post by 0870sucks on Apr 20th, 2007 at 10:52am
    I tried to call my Dr's surgery today (20/4/07) only to be told the number has changed to 08444 773945 from 655134.
    The real numbers do not work anymore, this means I will be charged 5p pm, the calls used to be free with my calling plan!
    I will be writing to the practice manager informing them they can only call ME on my mobile number (unless they supply a direct number) from now on, if they call my home number, I will repeat - "the number you have called has been changed to 077........".
    When I move, if my new surgery uses rip off numbers, they will be given my mobile number only!  

    Title: Re: Rip-off Britain 0844....
    Post by Barbara on Apr 20th, 2007 at 2:01pm
    I share your outrage.   Our surgery does not use an 0844 (yet) but if they change to one I think I will change doctors (after 26 years).   The trouble with our surgery is they never call back so giving a mobile number wouldn't help.   They insist the patient calls the surgery for test results etc at a specified time but if the doctor is not available  expects the patient to make endless repeated phone calls "in case the doctor is free"!   Good luck with your complaint to the practice manager - in our case she is even more dragon-like than receptionists! When we complained about short prescribing intervals for our son who has a lifelong condition requiring medication, she threatened to throw him off the surgery's list!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by 0870sucks on Apr 20th, 2007 at 9:40pm
    [size=14][/size]calling all friends and family members of receptionists at surgeries who have switched to 0844 rip off numbers, particularly Chapel Street surgery in Billericay.

    Please try and find out what phone numbers the staff use to call the surgery, I'm sure the receptionists, nurses and doctors dont use the 5ppm number to call in!  

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Apr 21st, 2007 at 7:48pm
    See this post by Martin_rosen that suggests how you might get the 01/02 number for your surgery:


    Martin_rosen wrote on Apr 16th, 2007 at 12:15am:
    I have just submitted a doctor's surgery in Hendon (NW London).  I found the number while waiting at the desk, where there was a list of direct lines on the wall to the doctors, and also to various departments (obviously for internal use).  I noticed the first number in the sequence was missing.  I tried it at home, and lo and behold it went through.

    Title: Re: Rip-off Britain 0844....
    Post by 0870sucks on Apr 25th, 2007 at 12:25pm

    0870sucks wrote on Apr 20th, 2007 at 10:52am:
    I tried to call my Dr's surgery today (20/4/07) only to be told the number has changed to 08444 773945 from 655134.
    The real numbers do not work anymore, this means I will be charged 5p pm, the calls used to be free with my calling plan!
    I will be writing to the practice manager informing them they can only call ME on my mobile number (unless they supply a direct number) from now on, if they call my home number, I will repeat - "the number you have called has been changed to 077........".
    When I move, if my new surgery uses rip off numbers, they will be given my mobile number only!  


    I have just received a reply from a complaint I made to the NHS regarding the 0844 number chage at my doctors surgery, I told them that I need to be able to contact my GP from overseas and cant using this new rip-off number, they gave me 08704600817 as an alternative!!!!!!!!!!!
    It seems they have all exits covered, I haven't finished with them yet. >:( [smiley=angry.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by airsound on Jul 26th, 2007 at 1:41pm
    A piece of good news.   The Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach surgeries (Gloucs) have recently renewed their phone system to increase their availability to patients, and have retained their 01451 numbers.   I talked to the Practice Manager, who told me that they had considered using the NEG system, but decided against it because they didn't believe the claimed benefits, and felt that people would rather use the existing numbers.    I congratulated her.   She seemed surprised!

    They have also recently adopted an online system for represcriptions and appointments which works very well after an initial difficulty in getting registered.   Of course, you can still do those things by phone or in person as well.

    So, some surgeries do care!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 26th, 2007 at 4:34pm

    airsound wrote on Jul 26th, 2007 at 1:41pm:
    They have also recently adopted an online system for represcriptions and appointments which works very well after an initial difficulty in getting registered.   Of course, you can still do those things by phone or in person as well.

    It would be far better if a system was developed for online bookings. The only reason these surgeries switch to phone systems like Surgery Line is because they get it subsidised. Having patients book online one step to alleviating some of the congestion on the phones.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by airsound on Jul 26th, 2007 at 4:47pm
    Perhaps I didn't make myself clear, Dave.   by "an online system for .......  appointments", I mean the same thing as what you describe as "bookings".  (I think!)    I can see immediately online which doctors are free when, and then book.    There is even a short notice section, where I got a booking, at 1700 one day, for 1030 the next.

    The system is called EMISaccess.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 26th, 2007 at 5:28pm

    airsound wrote on Jul 26th, 2007 at 4:47pm:
    Perhaps I didn't make myself clear, Dave. …

    The system is called EMISaccess.

    I understood that your surgery has adopted an online booking system.

    My point is that companies like NEG spend their time developing (for want of a better word) telephone systems like Surgery Line.

    The best way to increase the likelihood of getting through on the phone would be to adopt an online booking system so there are less calls. NEG have yet to provide such a service, probably because Surgery Line is so lucrative. It says something about the provider of telecommunications and the doctors when they opt for an expensive solution that uses the phone only and doesn't include an online service.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jgxenite on Jul 27th, 2007 at 6:31pm
    I've used EMIS Access before - the University Health Service at Sheffield University recommends it in favour of ringing them up (although I've never had a problem ringing them if I need an appointment). It is a good system (except for when it goes down - thankfully it hasn't done that very often) and, of course, it is free!!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Jul 27th, 2007 at 9:16pm
    There is a PETITION on the No. 10 website seeking to prevent the use of 0844/0870 numbers by GP surgeries:-----

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NGN-use-by-GPs/

    I think we should give it all the support we can.   Vote now!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 7:50am

    sisgb wrote on Mar 30th, 2007 at 9:16pm:
    I have signed the petition I found on here- thank you. How else can I protest about this?

    • By writing to the Director of your local PCT ( Primary Care Trust)

    • By making a formal complaint to your doctor's practice and pushing the complaint as far as you need to, in order to get a satisfactory result.  To the Ombudsman if necessary.

    • By writing to the Prime Minister directly about it.

    • By writing to the minister of Health.

    • By writing to your MP and drawing his/her attention to the Early Day Motion No. 1989 which deplores the use of 0844 numbers by doctors.  Ask him/her to sign it and to take the matter up with the Minister and the PM.


    ~ Edited by Dave: Post formatting tidied up

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Heinz on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 9:15am

    loddon wrote on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 7:50am:
    • By writing to your MP and drawing his/her attention to the Early Day Motion No. 1989 which deplores the use of 0844 numbers by doctors.  Ask him/her to sign it and to take the matter up with the Minister and the PM.
    ~ Edited by Dave: Post formatting tidied up

    EDM 1989 is about TREATMENT OF TRAINEE DOCTORS FROM COMMONWEALTH AND FORMER COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES

    http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=30481&SESSION=875

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 1:20pm
    Thank you Heinz for pointing this out.  Now this is a real mystery --- idb posted his message (   http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?action=usersrecentposts;username=idb      ) on 28th July saying that Sharon Hodgson MP had tabled her Motion "1989 Cost of Calling Surgeries 24:07:07".   It was signed by 27 MPs!
    Where is it now?   Looking at the list of EDMs for Sharon she only has one Motion dated 24:07:2007 --- No. 2643.

    So what is going on?   Has her original Motion been withdrawn?   Is it possible to withdraw a Motion?  What the hell is going on???   Can anyone enlighten us on this?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 1:48pm
    I don't understand this.   By going into the "pims" website via a different route I have found Sharon's original Motion and it IS No. 1989.   I am now looking a one window with her Motion and another window with EDM 1989 Austin Mitchell and 1989A1 Robert Key!!!!!    Can't the Parliamentary Information Services get their numbering right???

    How can two different Motions have the same number???

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jgxenite on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 2:07pm
    This link seems to work for accessing the motion:

    http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=33855&SESSION=885

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jgxenite on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 2:09pm
    Ah, it seems you are looking at the Session 05-06, hence the EDM having the same ID but for a different topic. Make sure you select "Session 06-07" before trying to find the EDM :).

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 2:11pm
    Yes that link works.   But that still leaves the anomoly of two Motions with the same number.   I have raised the matter with Sharon Hodgson's office and they are looking into the mystery.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 2:15pm
    Thanks, mystery solved.  Heinz, you need to select "Session 06-07" before trying to find the EDM.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Heinz on Aug 20th, 2007 at 9:15pm
    I wonder whether Martin Lewis can, occasionally, raise the whole GPs' surgeries 0844 rip-off issue on some of the radio or television programmes on which he appears?

    I've asked him in the hope .........

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:52am
    I seem to remember some years ago, when talking to a BT engineer, he said when they tested customers lines the dialled a number before dialling a number so the customer was not charged for the test calls. Now here's a thought, if this is indeed true, how can we find out what this number is and then we could use this before the disgraceful 08 numbers that we dial. Perhaps this would be illeagle, but would the telephone companies sue for a few pence?...Just an idea.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 9:00am
    There used to be a ring-back number.  So the engineer can dial a number and then it would ring back to the subscriber's phone, for testing purposes.

    That is the only one I have heard of.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Heinz on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 9:11am

    Martin_rosen wrote on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 9:00am:
    There used to be a ring-back number.  So the engineer can dial a number and then it would ring back to the subscriber's phone, for testing purposes.
    17070 - still works (option 1 [ringback] and option 2 [quiet line test] can be used by anyone).  That's from your own line though.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by irrelevant on Aug 29th, 2007 at 7:27pm

    Heinz wrote on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 9:11am:
    17070 - still works (option 1 [ringback] and option 2 [quiet line test] can be used by anyone).  That's from your own line though.


    If it complains about not detectng CLI, prefix it with 1470.  (Usually only on witheld lines..)  

    I don't suppose anybody has a number that will read back your CLI to you?  

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by a very nice man on Aug 29th, 2007 at 8:49pm
    Obviously this is not a method to choose but.....
    If an emergency call was made from that number, the operator would read your number to the appropriate service.
    Don't do, just trust me until the time is right.

    Therefore it might work if you were to ring customer services, usually 150 and ask them to confirm the number you are dialling from, assuming it's not withheld.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sx51alx on Sep 10th, 2007 at 3:38pm
    I think it's appauling at the best of times these 0845 numbers etc. let alone doctors surgies, NHS etc.  Making money out of ill health is a disgrace and I bet any of the money made from such numbers won't even make it into the NHS fund.

    Bambs [smiley=angry.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 1st, 2007 at 1:52pm

    HORSHAM'S Courtyard Surgery is the latest to switch to the new controversial 0844 numbers.

    Park Surgery has already moved to the new system, which was the subject of a number of complaints.

    Initially major technical faults disconnected callers trying to contact medical experts, and engineers were forced to carry out emergency repairs.

    In addition, residents launched a district-wide protest about the costs of the new system, as 0844 numbers are charged at 4.96p a minute.

    Further issues arose when a local expert revealed that the system could queue an indefinite amount of people, and each heard a 'ringing' tone, instead of the 'engaged' that callers would have previously heard had lines been busy.

    Park Surgery limits the system to 50 people at any one time, which means that callers were potentially paying to queue against each other.

    Explaining the reasons for going ahead with the new system, Janet Yeo,
    practice manager at Courtyard Surgery, said: "We are keen to stress to our patients that, despite what has been reported in some news articles, we will not be making a profit from our new phone system.

    "It has been introduced solely to ease problems with call congestion.
    "Call costs have also been exaggerated and misrepresented and we would like to assure our patients that it should cost them around the same to call the surgery with the new system."

    She said the new numbers were charged at a 'lo-call' rate, equivalent to BT's standard rate of 4.226 pence per minute (4.96 with VAT), making the cost of a four-minute call less than 20 pence.

    To make the changeover as smooth as possible, any patients who dial the old numbers in error will hear a recording with details of the new number that they need to call.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lompos on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 9:53pm
    suggest to send the video of the recent BBC program to all surgeries who changed to 0844:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7020000/newsid_7023300/7023328.stm?bw=bb &mp=rm&asb=1&news=1

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:03pm
    Out of interest, what was the programme that it was on?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by joe65 on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:08pm

    sherbert wrote on Oct 1st, 2007 at 1:52pm:
    HORSHAM'S Courtyard Surgery is the latest to switch to the new controversial 0844 numbers.

    Park Surgery has already moved to the new system, which was the subject of a number of complaints.
    ..................................
    .


    Many of the general public will appreciate not getting the engaged tone  (while not realising what they're paying for the privilege) .
    I had rather got used to the constant barrage of re-dials required to get through with the wonderful old system, starting promptly at 8 am.  Despite that, one seemed to get through quicker then than now  & of course one wasn't paying for most of that time (whilst redialling).

    But the general public,  who are not so telephone savvy, will just be so relieved to be 'getting through' first time...

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by joe65 on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:29pm

    sx51alx wrote on Sep 10th, 2007 at 3:38pm:
    I think it's appauling at the best of times these 0845 numbers etc. let alone doctors surgies, NHS etc.  Making money out of ill health is a disgrace and I bet any of the money made from such numbers won't even make it into the NHS fund.

    Bambs [smiley=angry.gif]

    Sadly the sick are an easy pray for these vultures and with the NHS they have just the hugest captive audience.

    The Hospital in Horsham has not long ago installed a parking system.   Never used to have much of a problem finding a space before.   Now the general public has to drive around for hours waiting for one of the few spaces left available for public/patient use to become free  (all the rest having been reserved for Blue Badge holders - whoever they are).   Then they expect you to buy a ticket in Advance, based on how long you're going to be .......   Don't they know this is the NHS, where the word Patient takes on a new significance.    How can anyone foretell how long they're likely to be ?   Sorry Mr Doctor , now that you've got round to seeing me at last, could you just wait while I pop out and renew my parking ticket....   I don't think so - I'd be more inclined to run the risk of the £60 penalty for overstaying than risk my health & waste the doctor's time like that.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lompos on Oct 4th, 2007 at 12:16pm

    Quote:
    Out of interest, what was the programme that it was on?


    BBC Breakfast, 2nd October:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_7020000/newsid_7024000?redirect=7024026.stm&news=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&nbram=1&bbram=1

    ~ Edited by Dave: Hyperlink corrected

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by joe65 on Oct 4th, 2007 at 1:36pm
    Did anyone see the Doctor on this mornings TV standing proudly in front of his prominently displayed 0845 ...number, whilst extollng the virtues of opening evenings & weekends?
    Don't remember which channel, but one of the 4 terrestrials.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 4th, 2007 at 1:37pm

    joe65 wrote on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:29pm:

    sx51alx wrote on Sep 10th, 2007 at 3:38pm:
    I think it's appauling at the best of times these 0845 numbers etc. let alone doctors surgies, NHS etc.  Making money out of ill health is a disgrace and I bet any of the money made from such numbers won't even make it into the NHS fund.

    Bambs [smiley=angry.gif]

    Sadly the sick are an easy pray for these vultures and with the NHS they have just the hugest captive audience.

    The Hospital in Horsham has not long ago installed a parking system.   Never used to have much of a problem finding a space before.   Now the general public has to drive around for hours waiting for one of the few spaces left available for public/patient use to become free  (all the rest having been reserved for Blue Badge holders - whoever they are).   Then they expect you to buy a ticket in Advance, based on how long you're going to be .......   Don't they know this is the NHS, where the word Patient takes on a new significance.    How can anyone foretell how long they're likely to be ?   Sorry Mr Doctor , now that you've got round to seeing me at last, could you just wait while I pop out and renew my parking ticket....   I don't think so - I'd be more inclined to run the risk of the £60 penalty for overstaying than risk my health & waste the doctor's time like that.


    The car park at Horsham Hospital used to be used by commuters, either leaving their car there or two cars arriving in the morning and the driver of one car getiing in to the other and off to work. This was unfair. I have found it much easier to park there since the pay & display has been in operation (and there is a much cheaper car park a few yards up the road where the local swimming pool is.) I don't think in this case they had much option as so many people were abusing it. However there must be a way where if you are an out patient that you get your money refunded but then, I guess that is not the idea. Sadly in this country if any authority can screw the Great British Public, they will. >:(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by alin_noor87 on Oct 9th, 2007 at 1:39pm
    Need Enfield Island Village Surgery Number.

    the one that i have is 08448151386....tried to find in search but nothing listed....

    please help me find the geographical number  :'(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Oct 9th, 2007 at 3:02pm
    I see you are new to this Forum, Alin, so I suggest that you read as much as possible on this thread and on the 'NEG Propaganda' and the 'Surgeries charge more for calling'  threads: you will then see that it is very difficult to find out geo numbers for surgeries that have gone 0844 and that it is intensely frustrating to many other people.  

    If you really want to find the number, and help with this cause generally, I suggest that you look at how one or two people have discovered the secret number for their doc and try their techniques or invent a technique of your own.   Also, you should write to the surgery and make a formal complaint, write and complain to your PCT, your MP, your local press and the Secretary of State, Alan Johnson.   If you can, post details on this thread of what you have done and any replies you get.    Also please sign, and get everyone you know to sign, the Petition on the PMs website against doctors using 0844/5 : ---

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NGN-use-by-GPs/

    Welcome to the Campaign!!!    

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by milkbottle on Oct 10th, 2007 at 9:46pm
    Hi Everyone,

    Just registered on this fab site. Please keep up the good work. Have signed the the No 10 petition


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by canvey on Oct 15th, 2007 at 4:03pm

    joe65 wrote on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:29pm:

    sx51alx wrote on Sep 10th, 2007 at 3:38pm:
    I think it's appauling at the best of times these 0845 numbers etc. let alone doctors surgies, NHS etc.  Making money out of ill health is a disgrace and I bet any of the money made from such numbers won't even make it into the NHS fund.

    Bambs [smiley=angry.gif]

    The Hospital in Horsham has not long ago installed a parking system.   Never used to have much of a problem finding a space before.   Now the general public has to drive around for hours waiting for one of the few spaces left available for public/patient use to become free  (all the rest having been reserved for Blue Badge holders - whoever they are).  


    I resent that comment - I am disabled and need disabled spaces - maybe you haven't had to hover for 20 minutes in the vain hope of finding a disabled space at a supermarket because they are all taken by able bodied people - often either without a blue badge or using someone else's illegally.



    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 15th, 2007 at 4:13pm
    I see the Holbrook surgery has an email contact. I wonder if you can make an appointment on line? Indeed any other surgery that has an email address. Iguess if too many people do it that way they will take down the address as they wont be able to screw the sick.

    Enquiries@holbrooksurgery.com

    This is a paragraph from their web site..

    The cost of calling this new number has caused a lot of confusion and there has been a lot of misquoting of prices in the press.  The calls are charged at BTs local call rate on a standard line, it is NOT a higher rate 0870 type number.  If you have a ‘telephone package’ which promotes ‘free’ local calls they sometimes exclude the 0844 number.  If that is the case, ask your provider to include our number to the free section of your contract.  The cost for a 4 minute call to a 0844 number is under 20p from a landline, but will vary with calls from a mobile.

    Yea right, the provider is going to do that, I don't think. How can they get away by putting all this mis information about? Is that right the 20p for a 4 minute call? My mobile charges 20p a minute. >:( >:(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 23rd, 2007 at 9:05pm
    What about this for the latest scam....
    Local surgery used to telephone the old folk to come for their 'flu jabs every year. This year the OAPs have got to 'phone the surgery to make an appointment, yep, you have guessed it, the surgery have just gone over to the 08xx scam, so now the overpaid doctors will get even more money out of their patients. When will this ever end?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 24th, 2007 at 6:55pm
    Friend of mine telephoned her surgery on the 'new number' and it would now work. So she 'phoned the old number and that referred her to the 'new' number. So she went to the surgery to make an appointment. She said, 'do you know the number does not work?' 'No' was the reply and tried it them selves and guess what? It did not work. I bet the doctors wondered why they wern't busy. What a cock up all this is. [smiley=rolleyes.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by dagdave on Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:24pm
    North Street Medical Centre in Romford, Essex, moved this week to 0844 8151115, what a disgrace.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:35pm
    Your duty, should  you wish to accept it, is to find the real telephone number !

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by dagdave on Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:54pm
    Easier said than done though?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Oct 25th, 2007 at 6:59pm
    Ask them what is the telephone number to use if you want to call them when you are abroad. If you need medical treatment the doctor may need to get in touch with your surgery about your notes and medical records. Worth a try, in fact may just do that with my surgery.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Oct 25th, 2007 at 7:04pm
    Also look out for internal messages pinned to the wall in the reception office.  Mine had a list of doctor's direct lines, and I worked out the "missing" number must be the main number.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by dagdave on Oct 26th, 2007 at 11:53am
    I am not 100% sure but I have been told from abroad it is a new 0870 number   :'(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by joe65 on Nov 13th, 2007 at 8:53pm

    sherbert wrote on Oct 1st, 2007 at 1:52pm:
    Park Surgery has already moved to the new system, which was the subject of a number of complaints.


    While I'm delighted with the service I receive from this surgery,   when calling them the other day I  was asked to give a number for the doctor to call me back on later.    When I offered my mobile number,   I was promptly reminded that those cost the surgery a lot of money & asked didn't I have a land line number .....

    Flabergasted, I forgot to ask  don't they.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by joe65 on Nov 13th, 2007 at 9:03pm

    canvey wrote on Oct 15th, 2007 at 4:03pm:

    joe65 wrote on Oct 3rd, 2007 at 10:29pm:

    sx51alx wrote on Sep 10th, 2007 at 3:38pm:
    I think it's appauling at the best of times these 0845 numbers etc. let alone doctors surgies, NHS etc.  Making money out of ill health is a disgrace and I bet any of the money made from such numbers won't even make it into the NHS fund.

    Bambs [smiley=angry.gif]

    The Hospital in Horsham has not long ago installed a parking system.   Never used to have much of a problem finding a space before.   Now the general public has to drive around for hours waiting for one of the few spaces left available for public/patient use to become free  (all the rest having been reserved for Blue Badge holders - whoever they are).  


    I resent that comment - I am disabled and need disabled spaces - maybe you haven't had to hover for 20 minutes in the vain hope of finding a disabled space at a supermarket because they are all taken by able bodied people - often either without a blue badge or using someone else's illegally.


    I'm sorry.   I never imagined Blue badges spaces to be for disabled people    There seemed to be so many of them around the Horsham Hospital  (which I never considered using) that I imagined them to be for staff or something.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Lukegem on Nov 20th, 2007 at 7:03pm
    My docs surgery has gone for one of these numbers too so i will need to search for the geographical number some how and let everyone i know what it is.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Nov 20th, 2007 at 7:10pm

    Lukegem wrote on Nov 20th, 2007 at 7:03pm:
    My docs surgery has gone for one of these numbers too so i will need to search for the geographical number some how and let everyone i know what it is.

    Write to your MP, sign the petition to the PM and contact your local media. It might be worth doing some research for them like checking what other surgeries in your area use such numbers. You can do this on the NHS website: [url=www.nhs.uk[/url]]www.nhs.uk[/url]

    Where abouts in the country are you?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Lukegem on Nov 20th, 2007 at 7:45pm
    Im in Enfield, and i will try contacting the MP etc thanks in the meantime i will try for another number.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Nov 30th, 2007 at 9:38am
    Anyone that is able to get hold of a copy of the West Sussex County Times  (30.11.2007) there is an interesting letter on page 12 fom someone saying a 2 & 1/2 minute call to their surgery cost 19p, representing a 45% increase on what would have been the old surgery number. Unfortunately the letter does not seem to be on line. Well worth a read if you can get hold of it.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 6:26pm
    From their web site. How accurate is this statement?

    New Telephone System (October 2007)

    From 9th October          Tel: 0844 815 1072        Fax: 0844 815 1073

    There has been a lot in the press about the new telephone system that the surgery is installing in October.

    You may or may not be aware that part of the GPs contract with the NHS is that surgeries have to have annual patient surveys and act on improving any areas that are highlighted as being a problem.   Most of this survey is about access to the surgery and how easy it is to contact the surgery by telephone.  The results of these surveys and frequent comments from patients are that they do experience difficulties when phoning the surgery.  Comments range from the telephone ringing constantly with no answer, or it is engaged all the time.

    Previously we had 2 separate lines for appointments and enquiries, but found that patients often tried each number in turn hoping to get through during busy periods and this causes a great deal of confusion for all.  Calls then had to be manually transferred internally to connect the patient to the correct person/number.  The system had been configured as efficiently as it can be, so to rectify these problems we looked at other systems.

    The new system allows you as the patient to choose the most appropriate selection from a single telephone number.  It will then notify you as to how busy the lines are at the time you have called so you can call back at a different time if the problem is not of an urgent nature.

    The selection you can choose are as follows and prioritised in order of the most frequently used:

      1.

         Appointments
      2.

         Visit requests
      3.

         Repeat prescriptions
      4.

         Test results
      5.

         All other Enquiries

    This will also allow us see what selection has been made so the call can be handled in a more efficient manner.  

    The cost of calling this new number has caused a lot of confusion and there has been a lot of misquoting of prices in the press.  The calls are charged at BTs local call rate on a standard line, it is NOT a higher rate 0870 type number.  If you have a ‘telephone package’ which promotes ‘free’ local calls they sometimes exclude the 0844 number.  If that is the case, ask your provider to include our number to the free section of your contract.  The cost for a 4 minute call to a 0844 number is under 20p from a landline, but will vary with calls from a mobile.

    We have given a great deal of thought before moving to this new system and have canvassed surgeries in West Sussex who have had it installed for some time and there is an overwhelming feeling of success and positive feedback from the patients and staff of those surgeries.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 6:33pm

    sherbert wrote on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 6:26pm:
    From their web site. How accurate is this statement?

    What is this? Is this a contest to see how many lies we can see in it?   ;D ;D ::) ::)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 7:11pm

    sherbert wrote on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 6:26pm:
    From their web site. How accurate is this statement?

    I do not know about “lies” but here are two significant omissions:

    1. “BTs local call rate” is not what BT customers actually pay! They are on “discounted” tariffs known as BT Together and would pay between zero and 19p for a 4 minute call to a local number. A four minute call to a 0844 number always costs 26p. (Both include the call set up fee and VAT, which are commonly omitted). A four minute call from a mobile to a 0844 number would cost up to £1.60.

    2. Part of the GPs contract with the NHS is that surgeries cannot receive fees or remuneration from patients, including through “any other person”, whether for their own benefit, or that of another. The revenue share from a 0844 number, even if used to pay for the surgery telephone system, represents a breach of that contract, according to Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health. See this posting

    If the system provides benefits to patients then there is no reason to criticise the system itself. It is simply being funded illegally.

    There is nothing fundamentally wrong with private medicine, where patients pay for the services delivered. That is not however how the NHS works.

    Your local PCT is responsible for enforcing the GP’s contract. You may wish to tell them that someone believes that it is being breached.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Dec 2nd, 2007 at 10:03pm
    Thanks, I appreciate that. [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by HughFisher on Dec 7th, 2007 at 11:05pm
    Not quite a doctor's surgery, but a dental practice. Can anyone help find a geo no. for ADP Dental Co. Ltd? Big firm with surgeries up and down the country, but I'm only really interested in our local one at 133 Langley Hill, Tilehurst, Reading RG31 4EE. Have searched SayNo site, to no avail, and tried Google, but only the 08448 010013 number is shown. They used to be on 0118 945 6123 (still shown on some sites), but this just responds with a pre-recorded message telling you to ring the 0844 number. Of all the denists listed in Reading, Newbury and Wokingham, they are the only one with a non-geo number!
    :P

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by shahab on Dec 15th, 2007 at 1:52pm
    Hi everyone. can enyone find out what is an altenate number for chiltern house medical centre in High wycombe, their number is 08444771848 plz,

    thanks  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by fmuckley on Feb 17th, 2008 at 4:32pm
    Hello all....

    Any one else notice that on the NEG website they have an 0800 number for you to call!!!  :-X

    http://www.networkeuropegroup.com/

    and I thought irony died the day Kissenger won the Noble peace prize!


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Feb 18th, 2008 at 1:02pm

    fmuckley wrote on Feb 17th, 2008 at 4:32pm:
    Hello all....

    Any one else notice that on the NEG website they have an 0800 number for you to call!!!  :-X

    http://www.networkeuropegroup.com/

    and I thought irony died the day Kissenger won the Noble peace prize!


    Most companies give out an 0800 freephone number for sales,(banks, ins, etc) then sting you with the 084/087 numbers after you sign up if you need to contact them.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jimbo2005 on Feb 27th, 2008 at 11:58pm
    If this has been mentioned elsewhere I apologise, but if not, this may be of interest.



    One I found out about today - it is proposed but not confirmed that Wirral NHS trust is proposing to move Cavandish Surgery in Park Road North, Birkenhead, and Miriam Medical Centre in Laird Street Birkenhead to a new building in Laird  Street, on the site of the old Aldi store.

    The consultation the link refers to is current and finishes on 23 April.

    The reason I am mentioning this here is that I understand that patients of both surgeries have an A4 form to put their suggestions on on the back page.  The other three pages give an overview of what is proposed.  The picture is an artists impression.  On page 3 it says that "there will be a new telephone service introduced...", to improve service to patients.

    I can guess at what is proposed, but I hope not.  I am not under either of these surgeries.  They currently occupy two searate premises, both have 0151 numbers.  However, it is proposed this new building will replace both of them.

    The story is at this website, which indicates incorrectly that the consultation is over.

    http://www.assuragroup.co.uk/Birkenhead%20to%20benefit%20from%20brand%20new%20medical%20centre.aspx

    No mention of the telephone service is mentioned in the press release.  It may also be worth pointing ouot that in the Q and A section on page 3, it implies that all services will be as they are now.  All patients will be with their existing practices and with their current doctors.  The telephone service is described as a prposed improvement of service to patients.

    We cannot be sure it will become an 0844 but it would not surprise me.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jimbo2005 on Feb 29th, 2008 at 12:38am
    Bad news - now there seem to be 166 on the list.  Last week it was 150!

    http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/SearchResults.aspx?q=0844&scope=NHSChoices&page=1

    The original link posted about the list of surgeries on 0844 no longer works for me.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Feb 29th, 2008 at 7:48am
    I don't know why you have found only 166 doctors using 0844 because our fellow member SilentCallsVictim has found over 500 on NHS Choices.  

    In addition there are at least 200 using 0845 and NEG claim to have over 1200 surgeries signed up to their 0844 system.   We have been unable to independently verify the NEG claimed numbers.  NEG have claimed to be converting 20 to 50 surgeries per month but this appears to be untrue and sheer hype by NEG.  

    This is out of a total of about 15000 surgeries nationwide so it seems less than 10% have so far decided to rip off their patients.    It is still well worth our while to continue to fight this scandalous exploitation of NHS patients while 90% of GPs remain with normal phone numbers.   Let the campaign continue!!.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Mar 8th, 2008 at 2:34pm
    This from today's Daily Mail may be of interest.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=528602&in_page_id=1774

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by mikeinnc on Mar 8th, 2008 at 4:50pm
    I added a comment. Hopefully, many more users of this site will, too.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by rosnted on May 3rd, 2008 at 7:26am
    I have just put 141 before dialling my out of hours NHS service in Hampshire - it worked!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jun 22nd, 2008 at 8:12am
    I wrote a four or five page email to my M.P. about 08XX numbers especially about doctor's surgeries with the help of forum member Barbara, who kindly gave me some good advice on how to compose my email. I think it is too long to put here but if admin members disagree, I will of course put it here if they request me to do so. I got a reply within a week, which I was most impressed with and having written that here was no such thing as a local call, he mentions in his reply about local call rates!! Also I mentioned all about 03 numbers and he writes to me all about them! Anyway he did reply to be fair to him on very posh House of Commons notepaper, which impressed my wife when she picked up the post!! I have copied the letter here for you to read......

    Dear Mr. xxxxxxx,

    Thank you for your email about non-geographical and higher rate 0845 and 0870 numbers.

    As you know, numbers such as these are charged at higher rates than their 'standard' national counterparts, and are generally excluded from bundled call packages, and as those available by contract with most static and mobile telephone providers. In certain cases they also allow the recipient of the call to receive a proportion of the overall charge paid by the consumer.

    The Conservative party has expressed concern over the proliferation of these non-geographical telephone numbers. In particular, my colleagues and I feel that their use by public service organisations such as GPs and out-of-hours medical services are detrimental to the public good, for the increased cost of such numbers is likely to affect those on low incomes or with chronic illnesses most severely.

    One of my colleagues recently tabled an Early day Motion calling for an end to these numbers, which attracted widespread support from all sides of the house. Furthermore, Ivan Lewis Minister for Care Services, intimated that there would be a gathering of evidence by the Government on the issue of 0800, including 0845 and 0870, numbers by public bodies. He also indicated that NHS Direct would not be renewed with an 0845/46/47 prefix, which I welcome.

    Ofcom has recently introduced a new 03 number range to be used by the public sector and not for profit bodies, which is charged at local rate and could be included in any lo-cost packages offered by landline or mobile phone companies. This may prove to be a suitable alternative to the use of 0844/0845 numbers.

    With regard to your comments on this subject, I have brought the contents of your e-mail to the attention of the appropriate Government Minister and as soon as I have a response, I will write to you again.

    The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 22nd, 2008 at 12:03pm

    sherbert wrote on Jun 22nd, 2008 at 8:12am:
    I wrote a four or five page email to my M.P. ...

    Well done, this is a very positive response.

    Let us hope that this issue is raised in the debate on the 60th anniversary of the NHS, which the opposition has initiated for this coming Tuesday. It is possible that the government will announce its conclusions following the evidence gathering exercise as it proposes its amendment. (The texts of the opposition motion and government amendment will not be published until Tuesday morning.)

    With the principle of "free at the point of need" being breached as patients pay towards the cost of NHS services provided using revenue sharing numbers, the NHS has not survived to the end of its 60th year. There are just two weeks left in which to put this right by ensuring that enforceable regulations and clear directions to give effect to this principle are in place before 5 July.

    Francis Maude (francismaudemp@parliament.uk) should draw this matter to the immediate attention of his shadow cabinet colleague, Andrew Lansley (lansleya@parliament.uk), who will be opening this debate. Forum members should note that the relevant government minister is Ben Bradshaw (james.x.taylor@dh.gsi.gov.uk) (not Ivan Lewis, who responded to the adjournment debate in January). The other key players are Alan Johnson (mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk) - Secretary of State for Health, Mike Penning (penningm@parliament.uk) - who shadows Ben Bradshaw for the Conservatives, Norman Lamb (info@normanlamb.org.uk) – Lib Dem shadow Secretary of State and Greg Mulholland (info@gregmulholland.org) who has been active on this issue as a member of the LibDem front bench Health team.

    Mr Maude should also be aware of the role he should be playing as shadow minister for the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office, under Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Ed Miliband (psmco@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk), is responsible for use of telephone services by all government departments and other public bodies. It includes the Contact Council, which should be coordinating and directing the overdue move to use of 03xx numbers by all those who have a valid use for non-geographic numbers in the delivery of public services.

    (Forum members should note that representations to parliament should normally be through their own MP. Other MPs, government ministers and their shadows are however generally ready to receive helpful briefings on matters relevant to their responsibilities from well-informed sources, although they should not be expected to respond.)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jul 3rd, 2008 at 3:18pm
    I have had a further letter from Mr Maude.

    Dear Mr ***********

    The Secretary of State for Business Enterprise ans Regulatory Reform has replied to my representations on your behalf about the widespread use of 0800 numbers.

    I enclose a copy of the response I have received from John Hutton to the concerns you raised in your recent e-mail. Thank you again for writing to me on this issue.

    Yours sincerely

    Francis Maude


    As my scanner is sick, I have typed out John Hutton's reply. I would just point out that I am not a copy typist and have tried to copy it as acuurately as I can.




    Dear  Francis

    Thank you for your letter of 19 June, enclosing correspondence from your constituent,  Mr xxxxx of xxxxx about the widespread use of 0800 numbers. I do understand the concerns your constituent raises, and would like to explain the back ground and the action is being taken to address this matter.

    The Independent Office of Communications (Ofcom) is responsible for numbering policy in the U.K. The first few digits of a UK telephone number give a broad indication to the caller of the type of service and /or cost of the call with 0870/0871 being the most expensive, 0844/45 in the middles and 0800 Freephone free of charge

    There are various reasons why a company may choose to use an 0870 number. The prefix code may give a company a separate clearer identity as well as, perhaps being easier to remember. These numbers can also be used in conjunction with Intelligent Networks to manage calls. An Intelligent  Network is a switching system that enables telecoms companies to process and route telephone calls more efficiently. The BT freephone 0800 and the mid-range 0844/0845 numbers can also be ised by Intelligent  Networks, but whereas a company would have to pay BT for call charges associated with these codes, calls using an 0870 number would not cost the company anyting. There may be revenue sharing arrangements between an organization using an 0870 number and telecoms provider.

    It is clearly down to the company’s own commercial judgement to decide what type of telephone number to use and Ocom cannot dictate to companies the type of numbers they must use. Neither can they demand that the link their non-geographical numbers to a local number. There are also price variations, which can be confusing for consumers because two people might dial the same 0870  number but be charged a different rate. The variations are caused by differences in the charges made by different telecoms companies for a call to an 0870 number. For example, a BT subscriber might well pay a different rate to a cable company subscriber, and a call from a mobile phone will probably be significantly higher than both.

    Ofcom knows that consumers have concerns that 084 and 087 numbers (including 0844, 0845, 0870 and 0871 ranges) are increasingly being used by businesses as a higher priced alternative to ordinary geographical telephone numbers. Ofcom recently undertook a major review of its policy on these numbers. On 19 April 2006 following extensive consultations, Ofcom published a statement, setting out a package of consumer friendly measures. These includeintroducing a new range of 03 non-geographical numbers which will cost no more than the geographical rates, and restoring the link between 0870 prefix and the actual rates charged by telecoms companies for national rate calls, even within discount packages.

    These new measures are being introduced over time so, for instance, the introduction of 03 numbers has already started and the alignment of 9870 costs with national rated will come into effect in January 2008. These measures should result in considerably lower prices for consumers. The website address for the Ofcom document is:

    www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_forward/statement/

    Communications Providers are obliged to publish “clear and up to date information on applicable prices and tariffs” for all calls including 0870 calls. Ofcom has also issued a statement about the publication of the pricing of non-geographical numbers, and has decided that telecoms companies should modify their codes of practice to ensure non-geographical  call prices are given prominence in published price lists and in promotional material for different service packages, including whether or not non-geographical numbers are included in discount schemes. The website address for this document is:

    www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_info/statement/statement

    For government contact Centres, the Central Office of Information has issued guidance recommending against the use of 0870/0871 numbers for services designed for individual consumers, because of the cost. The guidance recommends use of a geographical number either alongside or as an alternative to the 0870/0871 number. The guidance also draws attention to the relative expense of calling 0844/0845 numbers because they are often excluded from discount packages, and draws attention to the advantages of ne 03 numbers which will be much cheaper to call. This guidance can be found on the internet at:

    www.coi.gov.uk/documents/gcc-second-edition.pdf


    Yours

    John Hutton

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Jul 3rd, 2008 at 3:34pm

    sherbert wrote on Jul 3rd, 2008 at 3:18pm:
    I have had a further letter from Mr Maude.

    Dear Mr ***********

    The Secretary of State for Business Enterprise ans Regulatory Reform has replied to my representations on your behalf about the widespread use of 0800 numbers.


    I am sure you didn't complain about 0800 numbers.  ;D

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jul 3rd, 2008 at 3:43pm
    Actually I did, but  that pre fix he put, referred to the other 08 numbers. I did mention in my original letter about mobile telcom companies charging for 0800 numbers.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Jul 3rd, 2008 at 3:47pm
    Apologies for doubting you, but you can see why I was confused !

    Title: Re: Saltaire Medical Practice us of 0844
    Post by ew.walgrove on Sep 3rd, 2008 at 4:10pm
    I have had a reply to my e-mail which I sent to Catherine Darlington Business Manager at Saltaire Medical Practice about the GP Practice use of 0844 477 3674.

    Hear is the reply:


    Quote:
    Wednesday 3rd September 2008

    Mr Walgrove,

    Thank you for your email sent to myself.

    Saltaire Medical Practice has used an 0844 number for a number of years and when planning to move into our new larger branch surgery 12 months ago took the decision to have the telephone answered for our whole patient population at the main site.  This has allowed greater investment into the facilities we can offer our patients at both surgeries.

    We offer patients a variety of ways of communicating with the Practice – and have recently included online booking of repeat prescriptions and appointments via our website.  We try and maintain a high level of access and continue to provide services such as patients being able to order prescriptions over the telephone and offer at least 8 telephone consultations per GP per day to patients on their mobile phones.  Not all practices offer these services.

    I have passed your email to Kath Simons at NEG Surgery Line who may correspond with you under separate cover.  I have copied to Cath Seal in the tPCT Communications Department.

    We await the result of the DH Review.

    Regards.

    Catherine Darlington

    Business Manager
    Saltaire Medical Practice

    Title: Re: Saltaire Medical Practice us of 0844
    Post by derrick on Sep 3rd, 2008 at 4:58pm


    Kath Simons, now where have I heard that name before ;D  You will get no joy from her, just the NEG company line blah,blah,,blah.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Wenceslas on Dec 16th, 2008 at 12:48pm
    Hi everybody.

    Does anyone know an alternate number for the Whitemoor Medical Centre, Whitemoor Lane, Belper, Derbyshire,  DE56 0JB. Their number is 0844 576 9200.

    Thanks.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by DaveM on Dec 16th, 2008 at 1:41pm
    .....and about time too !!  ::)

    News this lunchtime says that the Health minister has agreed with us that it's wrong for surgeries to use 084x numbers as it's too expensive for patients to call them. We told them that when they were going to 087x and then decided to change to 084x !

    But hey, who the hell listens to us anyway !?

    NEG (& the other operators) are (according to them) working with the government on changing this.

    It could be very interesting to see how they get round this one now that they've supplied all these expensive switchboard systems to surgeries for nothing. Someone's got to pay for them !!

    How about the same systems that are used by Dental surgeries. Do we now have to complain about them as well to get the Health minister to sort that one out ??   :-/

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Dec 16th, 2008 at 1:41pm

    Wenceslas wrote on Dec 16th, 2008 at 12:48pm:
    Hi everybody.

    Does anyone know an alternate number for the Whitemoor Medical Centre, Whitemoor Lane, Belper, Derbyshire,  DE56 0JB. Their number is 0844 576 9200.

    Thanks.


    You will be lucky!! :(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jrawle on Dec 16th, 2008 at 2:38pm
    From a scrolling message on their website:


    Quote:
    From 18.3.2008 we are changing our telephone number to 0844 576 9200.  We do not have an answering machine so you cannot leave a message. If you  try to get local rates by not dialing (01773) the prefix  and direct dialing 576 9200, the call does not come to Whitemoor Medical Centre.  This is a  phone number to a home in Heage.  Whitemoor Medical Centre was formerly Green Lane Surgery.


    It doesn't quite make sense. Was the code 01773 before they switched? Whoever lives at that house has an extra reason to be annoyed by the surgery's switch to rip-off numbers. The message also implicitly admits that the 0844 number is expensive to call.

    Do you have the number they had before they switched to 0844, so I can avoid "finding" it if it doesn't work any more?

    I did find two recent job adverts (October, so after they switched in March) and it gives the number 01773 881148 for people to apply for the job. You could try that as see if they will put you through, or you can at least complain - it might be the practice manager or someone similar. The only references are for jobs at this medical centre, so it isn't a job agency.

    It seems there is only one other surgery in the area that uses 0844. The others use local numbers. Ultimately the answer might be to change doctor. After all, the practices are run as businesses these days, so if you aren't happy, take your custom elsewhere.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Wenceslas on Dec 17th, 2008 at 8:54am
    Thanks for the reply about Whitemoor Medical Centre.

    We are changing surgeries but not just because of the change of telephone system but mainly because they have moved their surgery from the town centre (5 minutes walk from where we live) to 3 miles out of Belper; There are also other reasons which I cannot go into here.

    The old number was 01773 823521. Thanks for the number you did find. I will give it a try.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by jrawle on Dec 17th, 2008 at 3:55pm
    I don't suppose the surgery used to be in Green Lane, by any chance?  ;D

    Off-topic warning...
    I once used a doctor at a surgery called the Church Street Practice. They moved to a street nearby but kept the old name. It did sometimes cause problems if you had to give details of your doctor to someone, as they tend to say, "I guess that's in Church Street"...

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by nicholas43 on Dec 17th, 2008 at 4:18pm
    The DoH is consulting about 084 numbers.
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_091879
    At first reading, the consultation document is full of absurd errors. Still thinks there are local call rates, thinks it's a benefit to get held in a 0844 queue instead of getting an honest engaged tone, thinks 0207 is code for central London, doesn't realise that many (most?) people can, at least some of the time, phone 01 02 and 03 numbers at zero marginal cost.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Dec 23rd, 2008 at 10:42pm
    Please sign the new e-petition to the Prime Minister on this subject. The deadline is 4 April 2009:

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Healthtelephone/

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Galacid on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 9:35am
    Hi all,

    Looking for a local rate number for my GPs Surgery. The details are as follows:

    The Central Surgery
    Bell Street
    Sawbridgeworth
    Hertfordshire
    CM21 9AQ

    Tel:  08444 773360

    I have found a number on the internet (01279-723172) but it does not work...

    Thanks

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 8:00pm

    Galacid wrote on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 9:35am:
    Hi all,

    Looking for a local rate number for my GPs Surgery. The details are as follows:

    The Central Surgery
    Bell Street
    Sawbridgeworth
    Hertfordshire
    CM21 9AQ

    Tel:  08444 773360

    I have found a number on the internet (01279-723172) but it does not work...

    Thanks


    Look around the surgery for direct telephone numbers for staff. These surgeries seem to have a block of consecutive numbers and reception/main menu is often the first in the sequence.  ;)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Apr 2nd, 2009 at 11:45am

    Dave wrote on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 8:00pm:

    Galacid wrote on Mar 23rd, 2009 at 9:35am:
    Hi all,

    Looking for a local rate number for my GPs Surgery. The details are as follows:

    The Central Surgery
    Bell Street
    Sawbridgeworth
    Hertfordshire
    CM21 9AQ

    Tel:  08444 773360

    I have found a number on the internet (01279-723172) but it does not work...

    Thanks


    Look around the surgery for direct telephone numbers for staff. These surgeries seem to have a block of consecutive numbers and reception/main menu is often the first in the sequence.  ;)


    The website for Central Surgery lists the practice manager as Shiela Keller:

    http://www.sawbosurg.gpsurgery.net/Webdesk/netblast/pages/index.html?id=382000

    A Google of Sheila Keller 01279 returns this table which gives her number as 01279 722215.

    As I said previously, the numbers at these surgeries are often in blocks. So assuming that this is her current direct number at the surgery, then perhaps you need to look in the 01279 72221x range and nearby.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by matthewf on Apr 10th, 2009 at 11:23am
    I am trying to find the local number for my g.p surgery I did have it till they changed to this silly 0844 which cost's an bomb.

    I have tried in vain on google and can't find anything here are the details

    Woodstock Bower Group Surgery
    Kimberworth Road
    Rotherham
    S61 1AH

    Tel no: 0844 8151956 if phoneing from the uk
    over seas: 0870 114593.

    Would be nice to have a local eg 01709 number that way it don't cost.

    ~ Edited by Dave: Spelling of surgery name corrected

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Apr 10th, 2009 at 11:38am
    A correct spelling of the surgery would have been more helpful. ::) I think you will find it is Woodstock and not Woddstock, I have found their fax number  01709 740690

    Try dialling around that number.

    If no luck then

    Read Dave's reply  #105

    Think that will be the only way of finding their number :'(

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by meltischa on Apr 21st, 2009 at 1:28am
    I'm looking for the number for The Thakur Practice in Yeadon, Leeds.
    Address: Silver Lane Surgery, Suffolk Court, Silver Lane, Yeadon, LS19 7JN
    Current Tel: 0844 477 2553

    I'm a student so I really can't afford to go over my line rental, just for silly check-up calls etc. Grrr   >:(


    Thanks guys!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Apr 21st, 2009 at 9:10am


    I have looked for you but can not find an alternative so I suggest you read Dave's reply #105

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by kitties_rule on May 15th, 2009 at 12:37pm
    Please can anyone help me I need the number for Dartford's doctors called "Horsman's Place"/"Horsmans Place"

    http://www.horsmansplacepartnership.co.uk/

    Instone Road
    Dartford
    Kent DA1 2JP

    0844 477 8789

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on May 15th, 2009 at 1:34pm
    Probably going to be impossible but
    I suggest you read Dave's reply #105

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by kitties_rule on May 15th, 2009 at 3:22pm
    I did that already, I've looked and asked reception staff about it before and they refuse point blank to give anything but the number they get a cut off of >:( ALREADY PAYING TAXES FOR THEM... This should be illegal for them to make money on the side off patients this way...

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on May 15th, 2009 at 3:31pm
    See if they have got a geographical fax number and try numbers around that

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Looby-Loo on Jul 14th, 2009 at 10:29am
    :) Hollies Medical Centre-St.Andrews Rd-Sheffield 11-01142550094

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Looby-Loo on Jul 14th, 2009 at 10:34am
    Am looking for alternative number for Gleadless Medical Centre-Gleadless Rd-Sheffield 2.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:06am
    Alternative to what?

    Their number is 0845 122 2686 and this number is counted in the inclusive package of a BT landline, depending which option you are on. You are lucky that this surgery has an 0845 number, mine and many others have a 0844 number.

    If you want a geographical number, try asking the receptionist next time you are there, or have a look around to see if there is one lieing around.

    By the way you can book and cancel appointments on line here

    http://www.gleadlessmedicalcentre.co.uk/


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lompos on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:18am
    at the Gleadless Medical Centre the number for requesting prescriptions is 0114 239 8355

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Looby-Loo on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:32am
    Thanks for those replies.Have the prescription no. Only have a mobile so 0845 is not inclusive with my package.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:43am

    sherbert wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:06am:
    Their number is 0845 122 2686 and this number is counted in the inclusive package of a BT landline, depending which option you are on. You are lucky that this surgery has an 0845 number, mine and many others have a 0844 number. ...
    By the way you can book and cancel appointments on line

    Some fair points, but ...

    The price of BT packages has increased significantly so that BT can cover the cost of the revenue share termination fees with these calls inclusive.

    Those not with the cross-subsidising BT bear the call costs more directly.

    The revenue share contribution with 0844 (call type g6) numbers is indeed greater. That is why the call costs are greater and why it is unlikely that BT package subscribers would be willing to bear the extra fee that would be necessary if these were to be made inclusive.

    On-line appointment booking is a boon for those with internet access. It must however be noted that surgeries maintain different sets of appointments for the different booking options. I always call my surgery (geo number) if I cannot find a suitable appointment slot on-line and often find that there are others available.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 14th, 2009 at 3:28pm

    wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 11:32am:
    Thanks for those replies.Have the prescription no. Only have a mobile so 0845 is not inclusive with my package.

    Have you looked on BT Phonebook as it lists a number several times?


    1. Dr S.L Bradford
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Road, S14 2JG - Map

    2. Dr C.J Davis
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Road, S14 2JG - Map

    3. Gleadless Medical Centre
    Drs Davis,Gordon,Wren,Bradford & Schrecker
    Appointments & Home Visits
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    Gleadless Rd, Sheffield, S14 1PQ - Map

    4. Dr R.M Gordon
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Road, S14 2JG - Map

    5. Dr G M K Schrecker
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Rd, Sheffield, S14 1PQ - Map

    6. Dr M.C Wren
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Rd, Sheffield, S14 1PQ - Map


    If this is a suitable alternative, then let us know so it can be listed for others to use.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 14th, 2009 at 5:10pm
    Might I suggest that sayonoto0870 would not wish to be accused of doing anything to upset use of the textphone service for those with hearing impairment.

    Some may wish to argue that those without hearing impairment are being unfairly discriminated against, however I would not wish to be associated with such a position, and suspect that other members may feel the same way.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jul 14th, 2009 at 5:35pm
    How does this text phone work then? Do you have to have a special phone and are they geographical numbers as SCV suggests? If this is the case, why don't we all get around the 08 number mullarky and use the text phone?

    I myself am indeed hard of hearing and wear a hearing aid in each ear, perhaps this may be of help to me?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:10pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 5:10pm:
    Might I suggest that sayonoto0870 would not wish to be accused of doing anything to upset use of the textphone service for those with hearing impairment.

    Some may wish to argue that those without hearing impairment are being unfairly discriminated against, however I would not wish to be associated with such a position, and suspect that other members may feel the same way.

    SCV, I think you need to come back a few squares!  ;D

    I gather you're referring to the entries from BT Phonebook like this:


    Quote:
    1. Dr S.L Bradford
    Gleadless Medical Centre
    Tel: (0114) 239 6475 - Text Number
    636 Gleadless Road, S14 2JG - Map

    In this case "Text Number" is a hyperlink to allow the user to receive an SMS text message with this telephone number.


    sherbert wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 5:35pm:
    How does this text phone work then? Do you have to have a special phone and are they geographical numbers as SCV suggests? If this is the case, why don't we all get around the 08 number mullarky and use the text phone?

    I myself am indeed hard of hearing and wear a hearing aid in each ear, perhaps this may be of help to me?


    Source: RNID

    http://www.rnid.org.uk/information_resources/factsheets/equipment/factsheets_leaflets/text_communications.htm


    Quote:
    What is a textphone?

    A textphone is telephone device that has a keyboard and a display screen. You type what you want to say rather than speaking into a mouthpiece. You can use a textphone instead of a voice telephone if you are deaf or if you have problems with your speech.

    In the UK, companies often use the word ‘Minicom’ rather than textphone. In fact, Minicom is a widely used brand of textphone.


    More information on textphones on the RNID page or by searching the internet. It also says that computer software is available to turn one into a textphone.

    An 01/02 number is often provided for textphone where companies otherwise use 08 numbers, although in some cases they do use 08 numbers for textphone as well. This is not to say that there aren't underlying geographical numbers because in general there are.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:37pm
    Thanks a lot Dave :)

    Having looked at the links etc. it looks a bit complicated although I am sure it isn't. Hopefully what hearing I have will last a bit longer so I can keep using the conventinal way of communicating! Looking at it, to me it looks like instant messaging.

    I appreciate your trouble in providing me with the link Dave [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:54pm

    sherbert wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:37pm:
    Having looked at the links etc. it looks a bit complicated although I am sure it isn't. Hopefully what hearing I have will last a bit longer so I can keep using the conventinal way of communicating! Looking at it, to me it looks like instant messaging.

    From what I gather, textphone is like a private chatroom. Similarly, fax has been superceeded (in principle at least) by e-mail as it does far more.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 14th, 2009 at 7:10pm

    Dave wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 6:10pm:
    SCV, I think you need to come back a few squares!  ;D


    As it is uncommon for users of revenue sharing numbers to publish geographic alternatives in the phone book, I had genuinely assumed that "text number" was quoted as part of the text of the entry, not as an associated hyperlink in the text of a web page. As textphones are a relatively rarely used service that needs to be direct and separate from an IVR menu sytem, for obvious reasons, and the technology probably could not cope with queueing, there would be little reason to adopt a non-geographic number. I had indeed put one and one together and advanced by one square (not, I believe, unreasonably).

    When tried a few minutes ago, the number inquestion is unobtainable. Perhaps Dave should hang back a little before publishing information like this, as it seems to have no value, as well as causing confusion and embarrassment.

    (Hey are we going to have another couple of members engaging in a personal punch-up in the forum) I hope not, Dave, can we call it quits?


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Looby-Loo on Jul 14th, 2009 at 7:26pm
    Thanks for the information, have tried and also found the number to be unobtainable.Think i'll give up on this 1.I've listed 1 that does work for Hollies Medical Centre.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 14th, 2009 at 7:31pm

    wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 7:26pm:
    … I've listed 1 that does work for Hollies Medical Centre.  :)

    This number, 0114 255 0094, is already listed as verified. Please check that the number does not already exist in the database before submitting an entry.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 15th, 2009 at 12:29am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 14th, 2009 at 7:10pm:
    (Hey are we going to have another couple of members engaging in a personal punch-up in the forum) I hope not, Dave, can we call it quits?

    We can all it quits. [smiley=beer.gif]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by agentq on Sep 6th, 2009 at 5:39pm
    My Dad is a GP and he says that there is no excuse whatsoever for a GP's surgery to fail to advertise a landline number. By using 0870 (etc) then patients are deterred from ringing in. its that simple.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by prcole18 on Sep 11th, 2009 at 3:31pm
    If anyone  can find the number for the following would be great:

    carrington House Surgery
    19 Priory Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP13 6SL

    0844 4996988

    Old Number was: 01494-526029

    Thanks

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Sep 11th, 2009 at 3:45pm


    Look at Dave's reply #105 I think this is the only way you will find it.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:27pm
    I am looking for a geo-number for Parkfield Medical Centre, in Potters Bar, Herts.   Every site that I have checked gives 0844 or 0870 numbers.

    I thought all NHS facilities had to give out geographical numbers now.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:43pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:27pm:
    I am looking for a geo-number for Parkfield Medical Centre, in Potters Bar, Herts.   Every site that I have checked gives 0844 or 0870 numbers.

    I thought all NHS facilities had to give out geographical numbers now.



    Try this and see if this works 01707 659 923

    If it does please report back and let us know

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:47pm

    sherbert wrote on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:43pm:
    Try this and see if this works 01707 659 923

    If it does please report back and let us know


    Thanks, it is returning n/u.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:52pm
    Try this then....

    01707 661 999

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 5:00pm

    sherbert wrote on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:52pm:
    Try this then....

    01707 661 999


    Been there - tried it !   It is a fax number  (I even went "whee, whirr" down the phone it didn't work !!

    I also tried  ...661990   and 66200  to no avail !

    I will wait until I can get to a phone that I don't pay for !

    Thank you for your help Sherbert.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Plunky on Nov 27th, 2009 at 2:46pm
    My partner's surgery changed to 0844 about a year ago. This is how I found out the REAL number. The first time the surgery phoned HER, the number registered on 1471 (or caller display) was the REAL number which we have used ever since without difficulty. Naturally I registered it with SayNoTo0870.com. Shame it's only helpful to those in our immediate area. Hope this hint helps others. More hints gratefully accepted. Cheers, Plunky.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Nov 27th, 2009 at 3:19pm

    Plunky wrote on Nov 27th, 2009 at 2:46pm:
    My partner's surgery changed to 0844 about a year ago. This is how I found out the REAL number. The first time the surgery phoned HER, the number registered on 1471 (or caller display) was the REAL number which we have used ever since without difficulty. Naturally I registered it with SayNoTo0870.com. Shame it's only helpful to those in our immediate area. Hope this hint helps others. More hints gratefully accepted. Cheers, Plunky.

    Hi and welcome to the SAYNOTO0870.COM forum.

    Thanks for adding the number to our site. It's good to hear you've found a way around the charges your partner's surgery imposes on patients.

    The whole 084 consultation seems to have been a waste of time, apart from to demonstrate the strong opposition by patients to these premium numbers. Whether anything will be done, I'm not so sure.

    Please let us know of non-working numbers in the database and unverified numbers that are suitable alternatives by posting on the forum (the Requests section) as such posts will receive my attention.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 27th, 2009 at 5:42pm
    Sorry, I seem to be replying to an old message.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by catj on Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:07pm
    Is it listed anywhere in here?

    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=Parkfield+Medical+Centre+01707

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:19pm
    Looks like you may have hit it there!   I am away from home until tomorrow evening.  I will try it over the weekend, I don't expect more than an answering machine, but if necessary I try again on Monday.

    Thanks.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Nov 28th, 2009 at 8:33pm
    Just tried the number listed and realised it was same as post #136 above.  Unfortunately n/u tone.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by yogigypsy on Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:12am
    Just registered here so I could inform the group that I have just added a number for my local doctors surgery.

    Central Surgery, Brooksby Drive, Oadby, Leicester

    08444996973 ----- 0116 2714212  

    tried and tested by my self and my wife (we refuse to call 0844 0870 etc )

    Hope this helps somebody out.   ;)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 4th, 2010 at 8:08pm

    yogigypsy wrote on Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:12am:
    Just registered here so I could inform the group that I have just added a number for my local doctors surgery.

    Central Surgery, Brooksby Drive, Oadby, Leicester

    08444996973 ----- 0116 2714212

    Hi and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    Thank you for submitting this number; I have moved it to the verified listings.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by smiler on Feb 17th, 2010 at 8:36pm
    Hi can anyone find out the number for :

    Bradford Road Medical Centre
    93 Bradford Road
    Huddersfield
    West Yorkshire
    HD16DZ
    Tel: 0844 477 8602

    £40 odd pounds on bill was from calls made to this number.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:20pm
    Try 01484 300455

    from http://www.bizwiki.co.uk/doctors/507270/bradford-road-medical-centre.htm

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by smiler on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:24pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:20pm:
    Try 01484 300455

    from http://www.bizwiki.co.uk/doctors/507270/bradford-road-medical-centre.htm


    This is the old number to the surgery, it's now someones personal house number. thanks for your efforts though.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:41pm
    Not very good allocating an old doctor's surgery to a private residence.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by smiler on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:49pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:41pm:
    Not very good allocating an old doctor's surgery to a private residence.


    I know they have a notice on the window not to call that number. I should have really put that in the initial post:

    Bradford Road Medical Centre
    93 Bradford Road
    Huddersfield
    West Yorkshire
    HD16DZ
    Tel: 0844 477 8602
    OLD NUMBER WHICH NOW BELONGS TO PRIVATE RESIDENCE 01484 300455

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 18th, 2010 at 2:52pm

    smiler wrote on Feb 17th, 2010 at 10:49pm:
    I know they have a notice on the window not to call that number. I should have really put that in the initial post:

    Bradford Road Medical Centre
    93 Bradford Road
    Huddersfield
    West Yorkshire
    HD16DZ
    Tel: 0844 477 8602
    OLD NUMBER WHICH NOW BELONGS TO PRIVATE RESIDENCE 01484 300455

    Hi and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    You are in the area with more GPs using these premium numbers than any other in the UK. It's not impossible to find the proper local number for these surgeries.

    I have searched and not had any joy. These systems give practices a group of numbers, each is used for different staff (extensions), including the main IVR (menu). If you can find one, the IVR number may be within that range.

    For example, supposing you find the number 01484 123467 goes through to one of the practice's extensions. The 0844 number usually goes through to an IVR which is based on a geographic number at the surgery. So, you might find that 01484 123450 is the alternative.

    In the past, I have found clues in the form of:
    • a member of staff's direct number, such as one given on a website advertising a job at the surgery in question.
    • a direct number for district nurses when they are based at the surgery in question.
    • a geographic fax number which is within the main range. Not all are, some are just numbers on their own.

    I haven't found any of the above, but you may find numbers written down at the surgery, for example a list of outside geographic numbers for staff and rooms at the surgery. This may provide a clue. If you do find such information and would like further help, then feel free to come back here and post it.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by mainbass on Feb 18th, 2010 at 4:30pm
    I`ve found a list of staff here http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/GP.aspx?Pid=5f626030-42c6-4f28-9326-23c5be9cacec&TopicId=9&Sid=0

    Which also gives another address for the practice. A number for Dr Butt at that address can then be found here http://www.sheriffratings.com/profile.html?id=82041150 which is 01484 300460.

    It might be worth calling that & asking to be transferred to the Bradford Rd Centre?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by smiler on Feb 18th, 2010 at 5:33pm

    mainbass wrote on Feb 18th, 2010 at 4:30pm:
    I`ve found a list of staff here http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/GP.aspx?Pid=5f626030-42c6-4f28-9326-23c5be9cacec&TopicId=9&Sid=0

    Which also gives another address for the practice. A number for Dr Butt at that address can then be found here http://www.sheriffratings.com/profile.html?id=82041150 which is 01484 300460.

    It might be worth calling that & asking to be transferred to the Bradford Rd Centre?


    Thats a different practice on Spring Road which is also run by Dr Butt, they number is also 0844 now and the 01484 number is out of order. thanks for your efforts again,

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Feb 19th, 2010 at 3:04am
    Smiler (and anyone else in the same situation where they are required to pay more than the cost of a normal call to contact their GP, or any other NHS provider):

    You may be interested to draw the attention of your practice to the exchange in parliament which can be read, heard and watched here. There are many complications around this matter, however the situation described in this exchange is straightforward. (The supplementary question from Mike Penning is essentially nonsense.)

    I would personally be most keen to know what the practice has to say about its plans for a further change of number (perhaps to 0344 477 8602).

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Feb 19th, 2010 at 10:16am
    Is 0344 the same as 0844?   Whereas I get 'free' calls with 01, 02, 03 numbers, does that apply to this and 0370 ?  (sorry to have moved this slightly off topic).

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 19th, 2010 at 11:57am

    Martin_rosen wrote on Feb 19th, 2010 at 10:16am:
    Is 0344 the same as 0844?   Whereas I get 'free' calls with 01, 02, 03 numbers, does that apply to this and 0370 ?  (sorry to have moved this slightly off topic).

    The 0344 prefix is set aside for users to migrate from their respective 0844 number. Likewise 0345 and 0370, for 0845 and 0870 respectively.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Feb 19th, 2010 at 1:15pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Feb 19th, 2010 at 10:16am:
    Is 0344 the same as 0844?   Whereas I get 'free' calls with 01, 02, 03 numbers, does that apply to this and 0370 ?  (sorry to have moved this slightly off topic).


    Ofcom set stringent regulations concerning the charging for ALL 03..... numbers --- that the cost of 03 numbers must be the same as calls to geographic numbers.   Stated here :---

    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2007/02/nr_20070213b

    03 numbers are being introduced as an alternative to chargeable 08 numbers like 0870. Calls to 03 numbers will cost the same as calls to geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02), and be included as part of any inclusive call minutes or discount schemes in the same way as geographic calls.

    Revenue sharing – where the dialled party can receive a share of what the consumer pays to make a call – will not be permitted on calls to 03 numbers.

    Ofcom intends these requirements to apply to calls from all types of line, including mobiles and payphones, Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards said: “Consumers will be able to dial 03 numbers with confidence about the cost of their call. We expect public services and many others to view 03 numbers as a real alternative to higher cost 08 numbers.”



    So you should have no concerns about costs when calling 03 numbers.








    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by greenbailiwick on Feb 22nd, 2010 at 6:41pm
    I love foiling companies' greed for profit by using geographical numbers.

    Like everyone else I am disgusted that I have to pay the NHS to make an appointment by phone.  Really fired up about it!  So I would like to find a geographical number for my local surgery.  I have done a search on Yahoo! to no avail.

    This original number, (020) 7435 1131 has a recorded message stating the new number 0844 4773102

    Keats Group Practice
    1B Downshire Hill
    London
    NW3 1NR

    Thanks for your help.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by DemiDee on Feb 24th, 2010 at 9:58am
    Like most on here, I am appalled that we are not only charged for a call when booking a doctor's appointment, but that we often have to wait an extremely long time on the phone.  I cannot count the amount of times I've had to wait as 'caller 15', listening to music whilst the queue goes down.  NOT nice when you are feeling ill and/or suffer from anxiety!

    I'm not sure whether anyone here can help, but I'm looking for an alternative number for Leicester's Clarendon Park Medical Centre on Clarendon Park Rd.  It used to be 0116-2705049 but changed some years ago, when these alternative numbers first came into force.  I have been unsuccessful so far in finding any landline number for this surgery.

    Thanks all.  I love this site!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 24th, 2010 at 10:45am

    DemiDee wrote on Feb 24th, 2010 at 9:58am:
    I'm not sure whether anyone here can help, but I'm looking for an alternative number for Leicester's Clarendon Park Medical Centre on Clarendon Park Rd.  It used to be 0116-2705049 but changed some years ago, when these alternative numbers first came into force.  I have been unsuccessful so far in finding any landline number for this surgery.

    I see you posted a request for this about a year ago, so please look on there and post responses on there.

    Refer above to my comments in reply #52. Look around the surgery for clues.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by DemiDee on Feb 24th, 2010 at 10:51am
    Thanks, Dave. You obviously have a much better memory than I do!   ;D

    I'll go and take a look now....

    Title: Friarsgate Practice Winchester
    Post by dingo on Mar 6th, 2010 at 6:18pm
    I managed to work out that their geog. number is 01962 871730

    Title: Re: Friarsgate Practice Winchester
    Post by Dave on Mar 6th, 2010 at 6:43pm

    dingo wrote on Mar 6th, 2010 at 6:18pm:
    I managed to work out that their geog. number is 01962 871730

    Hi and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    Thanks for this. I've added it to the database for others to use.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lottie1 on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 11:20am
    I totaly agree it's outragious this 0844 for surgeries.

    Be warned though! I spent an hr one morning trying to get through to my surgery and had the engaged tone all the time.

    To my horror I was charged for this, for every time I connected to be told that the surgery is engaged please try later I was charged  >:(.

    When I spoke to one of the receptionists she told me they are having loads complaints about this.

    They are not silly are they? I am with bt so get o845 and 0870 no's for free, no wonder! they know company's are changing to 0844 so they are not giving much away.

    I bet company's have someone going through the say no list and as soon as they see an alternative no they close it down.

    I have a free phone no for a certain co  ;) but will not post it cos I know it will be changed.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 12:41pm

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 11:20am:
    I totaly agree it's outragious this 0844 for surgeries.

    Be warned though! I spent an hr one morning trying to get through to my surgery and had the engaged tone all the time.

    To my horror I was charged for this, for every time I connected to be told that the surgery is engaged please try later I was charged  >:(.

    Hi lottie1 and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    Perhaps you would like to post its details and we will see if we can work out what the proper 01/02 number is.



    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 11:20am:
    … I am with bt so get o845 and 0870 no's for free, no wonder! they know company's are changing to 0844 so they are not giving much away.

    The cost to the telephone companies we make our calls with are much higher when their customers phone 0844 numbers than they are for 0845 and 0870 ones. So any inclusion of 0844 calls in packages is very extremely unlikely. There are a number of other reasons why it is nigh-on totally unlikely that telcos would ever do this, but I won't go into them now.

    The GPs chose to take subsidy from patients (callers) and that is generally reflected in higher charges to callers. This will still be the case if GPs' numbers are included in packages, where the cost of subscribing to those packages will rise.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lottie1 on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 12:57pm
    Hi Dave. The surgery is MANOR PLACE SURGERY LONDON SE17.

                                   TEL 0844 477 3699.


    I did go on to the main page to search but nothing came up.

                                                                                             Thanks  :-*

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 1:50pm

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 12:57pm:
    Hi Dave. The surgery is MANOR PLACE SURGERY LONDON SE17.

                                   TEL 0844 477 3699.

    The surgery's website is [url=www.manorplacesurgery.nhs.uk[/url]]www.manorplacesurgery.nhs.uk[/url]

    Its address is:

    1 Manor Place
    London
    SE17 3BD

    It operates three 0844 numbers:

    Telephone: 0844 477 3699    
    Fax: 0844 477 3698
    Health Visitors: 0844 477 3954


    Some pages give 020 7703 3988 as the number for Manor Place Surgery.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lottie1 on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 1:53pm
    Thanks Dave! That 01 no is the old one not working anymore  :-/

    I do my appointments etc by e-mail now.  ;)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 2:00pm

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 1:53pm:
    I do my appointments etc by e-mail now.  ;)

    I have added an entry to the database with a note to say that appointments can be made online and to refer to the surgery's website for more information.

    In the mean time, have a look at my previous posting for some tips on how you might find out the proper number for your surgery.  ;)

    Should you find it, let us know and I will add it to the database.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 2:30pm

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 12:57pm:
    Hi Dave. The surgery is MANOR PLACE SURGERY LONDON SE17.

                                   TEL 0844 477 3699.

    Further to my previous posting, I see that some staff at Manor Place Surgery also work at Sir John Kirk Close Surgery.  :-?

    Paul Hillman is practice manager for both and Dr Venetia Herzmark and Dr Jonty Heaversedge who are partners at Manor Place also practice at Sir John Kirk Close.

    Dr Heaversedge has worked on a number of BBC programmes.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by lottie1 on Mar 23rd, 2010 at 8:52am
    Dave! What a clever bunny you are  :D.

    This Sir John Kirk surgery is 5 mins from my door and I was not aware that that either of my Docs also practised there.

    I am going to try and change surgerys now as it would be more conveniant for me and they have a normal tel no.

    Milk moniter for the day I award to you. ;D
                                                                      Thanks Lottie.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Mar 23rd, 2010 at 11:09am

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 23rd, 2010 at 8:52am:
    Dave! What a clever bunny you are  :D.

    This Sir John Kirk surgery is 5 mins from my door and I was not aware that that either of my Docs also practised there.

    I am going to try and change surgerys now as it would be more conveniant for me and they have a normal tel no.

    Milk moniter for the day I award to you. ;D
                                                                      Thanks Lottie.

    Happy to help. I was looking for an alternative number and I found you an alternative surgery.  ;D

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Mar 30th, 2010 at 11:24am
    THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

    I would like to ask a general question of all readers and contributors to this Forum who have a particular interest in the problem of doctors (GPs) using 0845 and 0844 numbers.

    Some assiduous people have managed to find out the geographic number which lies behind their own GP's much disliked 0844 and 0845.    I ask all the of you who are lucky enough to be able to use an alternative geographic number HOW WELL DOES IT WORK FOR YOU?    
    Have you noticed any differences between when you use the geo number and when you use the 084 number?
    Have you found any particular problems?
    Have you found any improvements or benefits?
    Is the phone answered any differently when you use the geo number?

    This is a terribly important matter and I hope as many people as possible will respond.    We really need to get as much information as possible on this.    If anybody wishes they are most welcome to respond to me by private message if they do not want to say things in the open Forum.

    All feedback and information will be treated confidentially if you ask, and will be invalualble to us in our ongoing campaign about GP's numbers.

    Please respond as fully as you can and MANY THANKS for your help.

    Best wishes to all NHS patients in their battle to avoid 084 numbers.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Mar 31st, 2010 at 11:27am
    My surgery still has the geo number it had before they introduced their 0844 number, in fact it is on some, (?), doctors prescriptions! and on their website, although in the practice they have a scrolling board with various info on it including the "new" 0844 number.

    I use the geo number when I need to phone them so cannot comment on how the 0844 works.

    When I use the geo number it is answered pretty quickly by a human with them saying hello then the name of the practice, I then can ask whatever I like really, including booking an appointment.

    So all in all it works well for me.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Apr 4th, 2010 at 12:55pm

    loddon wrote on Mar 30th, 2010 at 11:24am:
    THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

    I would like to ask a general question of all readers and contributors to this Forum who have a particular interest in the problem of doctors (GPs) using 0845 and 0844 numbers.

    Some assiduous people have managed to find out the geographic number which lies behind their own GP's much disliked 0844 and 0845.    I ask all the of you who are lucky enough to be able to use an alternative geographic number HOW WELL DOES IT WORK FOR YOU?    
    Have you noticed any differences between when you use the geo number and when you use the 084 number?
    Have you found any particular problems?
    Have you found any improvements or benefits?
    Is the phone answered any differently when you use the geo number?


    Loddon, I use Little Common Surgery - Based near Bexhill, East Sussex.

    They have the dredded NEG telephone "service" , and using SNT0870 I found the Geographic number for them. It goes straight through to the IVR menu, and allows me to select the option I require at no extra cost to myself. I've programmed it into our home telephone as well to avoid my parents forgetting and calling the 0844 number and running up a bill! (FYI we pay for the extra BT anytime calls pack)

    :)

    On a seperate note my Sister uses a surgery closer to Bexhill, and they also have the same NEG "service" but as yet the Geographic number has proved VERY hard to locate!

    So if ANYONE on here uses Dr Lawton & Partners, Albert Rd, Bexhill, then please let me know on here or via a PM if u have the Geographic number that works.

    [edit]The postings in response to CJT-80's request for an alternative to Dr Lawton & Partners' surgery have been split off into a separate thread here.[/edit]

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Apr 4th, 2010 at 12:59pm

    Dave wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 2:30pm:

    lottie1 wrote on Mar 22nd, 2010 at 12:57pm:
    Hi Dave. The surgery is MANOR PLACE SURGERY LONDON SE17.

                                   TEL 0844 477 3699.

    Further to my previous posting, I see that some staff at Manor Place Surgery also work at Sir John Kirk Close Surgery.  :-?

    Paul Hillman is practice manager for both and Dr Venetia Herzmark and Dr Jonty Heaversedge who are partners at Manor Place also practice at Sir John Kirk Close.

    Dr Heaversedge has worked on a number of BBC programmes.


    Dave, I note the Dr has an e-mail address, perhaps it's worth someone local to him dropping him an e-mail and SEEING if we can get him to work with us on abandoning these dreaded numbers within Dr's Surgeries inc his own!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by loddon on Apr 5th, 2010 at 7:59am
    Thank you CJT-80.   That is very useful and helpful information.

    Does anyone else have any experience of using alternative geo numbers for GPs or indeed any NHS service?    We would still like to know how it worked for you and whether it worked well or caused you any difficulties.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by JoeCurry on Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:01pm
    Folk should lobby their parliamentary candidates to discover whether their parties will outlaw these
    dreadful surgery numbers.
    I contacted my local Scottish Parliament SNP member (they are responsible for the NHS in Scotland)
    and still no reply after two weeks.
    I think we should name and shame our parliamentary representatives for lack of action.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:30pm

    JoeCurry wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:01pm:
    Folk should lobby their parliamentary candidates to discover whether their parties will outlaw these
    dreadful surgery numbers.
    I contacted my local Scottish Parliament SNP member (they are responsible for the NHS in Scotland)
    and still no reply after two weeks.
    I think we should name and shame our parliamentary representatives for lack of action.


    Joe, I have followed your suggestion and contacted my current MP and the 2 MP's running in my area for election.

    It's time to make a stand and get these and other "premium" rated contact numbers used for not only NHS but other public services abolished OR insist on alternative numbers provided!  

    We already pay for access to these "services" in Tax and or National Insurance.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by JoeCurry on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:31pm
    My surgery (Carmondean Medical Group, Livingston) are receiving some £1000 from it's 0844 number (Not sure if that's monthly or per annum) The surgery
    reckons the number is more efficient and some twaffle about BT not willing to supply more lines. I have been chasing them and my elected representatives from the day this 0844 number was installed. I'm afraid we have an uphill struggle on our hands. Perhaps OFCOM should get involved?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:39pm

    JoeCurry wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:31pm:
    My surgery (Carmondean Medical Group, Livingston) are receiving some £1000 from it's 0844 number (Not sure if that's monthly or per annum) The surgery
    reckons the number is more efficient and some twaffle about BT not willing to supply more lines. I have been chasing them and my elected representatives from the day this 0844 number was installed. I'm afraid we have an uphill struggle on our hands. Perhaps OFCOM should get involved?


    The problem is Ofcom have done what they feel to be "right" by providing the 03 numbers.  Sadly it's going to take effort and input from the MP's and their constituents to get this changed as a whole!

    However when the likes of NHS Drect and NHS 24 still use 0845 numbers on the basis they are "local rate" we will continue to face resistance!  There is NO need for them to use such a number any longer.. there is already an 03 number available from Ofcom for NHS Direct and I am sure NHS 24 has one waiting for it to use as well...


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:42pm

    JoeCurry wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:31pm:
    My surgery (Carmondean Medical Group, Livingston) are receiving some £1000 from it's 0844 number (Not sure if that's monthly or per annum) The surgery
    reckons the number is more efficient and some twaffle about BT not willing to supply more lines. I have been chasing them and my elected representatives from the day this 0844 number was installed. I'm afraid we have an uphill struggle on our hands. Perhaps OFCOM should get involved?

    You posted a request previously for help to find the number of your surgery. I asked you for more information, but you haven't been forthcoming. Do you not want help finding the number anymore? :-?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by college on May 18th, 2010 at 1:20pm
    Hello

    It seems that alot of people are having the same problem with expensive doctors' surgery phone numbers........does anyone know the 'proper' 01277 number for the Chapel Street surgery at 93 Chapel Street, Billericay, Essex please? Not only is it expensive, you have loads of buttons to press, music to listen to, or have to hang on!

    Thanks for any help

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on May 18th, 2010 at 2:11pm

    college wrote on May 18th, 2010 at 1:20pm:
    It seems that alot of people are having the same problem with expensive doctors' surgery phone numbers........does anyone know the 'proper' 01277 number for the Chapel Street surgery at 93 Chapel Street, Billericay, Essex please? Not only is it expensive, you have loads of buttons to press, music to listen to, or have to hang on!

    Thanks for this one go to the practice manager for placing her direct number in the public domain.

    See this page:
    http://jobs.thisistotalessex.co.uk/cgi-bin/vacdetails.pl?selection=933051156&src=search

    Her direct number is 01277 635904. I suggest that other DDI numbers (numbers to extensions) at this surgery are 63590x and maybe 63591x (and maybe higher, depending on the number of extensions they have).

    I called 01277 635900 and it was answered "Chapel Street Surgery".

    Please let us know how you get on. I would like to list the alternative for others to use, so I would like your feedback.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by college on May 18th, 2010 at 2:43pm
    Dave
    Re Chapel Street surgery............you're a star! Will report back. Thanks

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by college on May 18th, 2010 at 3:42pm
    Dave - re Chapel Street Surgery, Billericay.............what a find! You're right........ring 01277 635900 and a human being answers the 'phone straightaway 'Chapel Street Surgery'!
    The expensive alternative was to ring 0844 477 3945 and find yourself listening to a robot asking you which of the various services you require (an appt etc) and then be kept hanging on to listen to music.
    Well done!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by JoeCurry on Jun 3rd, 2010 at 5:45pm
    An update 3/06/10

    From MSP Angela Constance PA.

    The following oral question was submitted by Angela  today.


    Oral Question General Question Time Thursday 3rd June 2010
    Angela Constance: To ask the Scottish Executive how many GP practices use 084 premium rate numbers and whether it has any plans to actively discourage the use of such numbers by GP practices. (S3O-10892)
    As soon as the reply is officially published it will be forwarded to you.

    I'll keep the forum informed.

    Perhaps we should all be pursuing our elected representatives with similar requests?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by JoeCurry on Jun 3rd, 2010 at 5:49pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:42pm:

    JoeCurry wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:31pm:
    My surgery (Carmondean Medical Group, Livingston) are receiving some £1000 from it's 0844 number (Not sure if that's monthly or per annum) The surgery
    reckons the number is more efficient and some twaffle about BT not willing to supply more lines. I have been chasing them and my elected representatives from the day this 0844 number was installed. I'm afraid we have an uphill struggle on our hands. Perhaps OFCOM should get involved?

    You posted a request previously for help to find the number of your surgery. I asked you for more information, but you haven't been forthcoming. Do you not want help finding the number anymore? :-?


    Sorry Dave..Yes of course.. I have been given 01506 630031 from another source..it was the last geo number used by the surgery.. It does get answered but no identification is given..could it be for staff only?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by JoeCurry on Jun 4th, 2010 at 2:18pm

    JoeCurry wrote on Jun 3rd, 2010 at 5:49pm:

    Dave wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:42pm:

    JoeCurry wrote on Apr 24th, 2010 at 3:31pm:
    My surgery (Carmondean Medical Group, Livingston) are receiving some £1000 from it's 0844 number (Not sure if that's monthly or per annum) The surgery
    reckons the number is more efficient and some twaffle about BT not willing to supply more lines. I have been chasing them and my elected representatives from the day this 0844 number was installed. I'm afraid we have an uphill struggle on our hands. Perhaps OFCOM should get involved?

    You posted a request previously for help to find the number of your surgery. I asked you for more information, but you haven't been forthcoming. Do you not want help finding the number anymore? :-?


    Sorry Dave..Yes of course.. I have been given 01506 630031 from another source..it was the last geo number used by the surgery.. It does get answered but no identification is given..could it be for staff only?


    Another update.. my MSP has extracted a geo number from The Carmondean Medical Group which actually reaches
    their front desk..it's 01506839348..but when you dial it rings and rings, are they deliberately ignoring it?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jul 23rd, 2010 at 11:22am
    @malc_b, I have moved the postings about Hathaway to their own thread here and I've asked you a question.

    Click here to be notified when a response is posted at the new location.

    This posting will be removed once malc_b has had time to read it.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by malikajk on Aug 25th, 2010 at 2:31am
    hi i am new to this. my surgery has installed 08444772451. any cure for that. its primrose surgery in bradford.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Aug 25th, 2010 at 10:53am
    Hello Malikajk,

    As has been previously suggested finding an 01/02 number for Dr's who have changed over to 0844 can be very hard. Do you have any old appointment cards or leaflets which give numbers before the change over?

    Might be worth calling them, to see if they work.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Aug 25th, 2010 at 1:00pm

    malikajk wrote on Aug 25th, 2010 at 2:31am:
    hi i am new to this. my surgery has installed 08444772451. any cure for that. its primrose surgery in bradford.

    Welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    Please start a new thread in the Requests section with some information on this surgery, including the address as listed on the NHS website.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Caiptean on Sep 15th, 2010 at 4:19pm
    Having orchestrated a successful campaign several years ago to rid owr local GP practice of 0870 I am dismayed to visit this site and still find surgeries using 0844 /0845 numbers.

    May I suggest the following course of action that we were about to follow had our GP not reverted to a geographical number.

    Within the GP's contract with the PCT is a clause (144 I seem to recall) that effectively states GPs may not charge for medical advice. So if you telephone the surgery on a chargeable number (0844 /0870) and ask (for example) 'I'm an elderly person so should I have a flu jab?' and the surgery says 'Yes' then you have been charged for medical advice. Accordingly the surgery is in breach of contract with the PCT.

    I'd be interested to learn of any successful challenges va this route....

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by bazzerfewi on Sep 15th, 2010 at 6:44pm
    If I recall the last government stated in parliament that doctors were in breach of their contract if they use premium rate numbers

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Sep 16th, 2010 at 11:38am
    0870 numbers are inclusive in some packages, especially B.T., so you may have 'shot yourself in the foot' :-?

    (Now you will need to phone a 0844 number to get your foot fixed! ;D)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Sep 16th, 2010 at 12:17pm

    sherbert wrote on Sep 16th, 2010 at 11:38am:
    0870 numbers are inclusive in some packages, especially B.T., so you may have 'shot yourself in the foot' :-?

    sherbert does make a good point, although I suspect that even if 0870 hadn't been outlawed in the NHS in 2005, that the loss of subsidy on 0870 numbers last year would have resulted in GPs switching to 0844 anyway.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Caiptean on Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:39am
    The point on inclusive call packages is noted. These packages were not around when I was campaigning.

    Even now not all call packages include 0870 or 0844.

    However, the primary issue is one of does the practice receive any income from callers?

    Unless there is some means of screening the call or staff are instructed not to give medical advice on the phone (very difficult to achieve) then it is almost enivitable that a patient will be charged...

    As for public bodies (such as my County Council) I gained their geographical numbers through an FoI request.

    Good luck!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by bazzerfewi on Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:42am
    Surely the way to go would be to ban all 08 numbers as all Doctors surgeries are in the patients local area and they could not make the excuse that the calls are easier to manage.

    And if they were to use 03 numbers this problem would not arise

    Yes BT has decided to include some 08 numbers but Virgin have not and I susped other providers haven't either

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Sep 17th, 2010 at 6:49am

    Caiptean wrote on Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:39am:
    The point on inclusive call packages is noted. These packages were not around when I was campaigning.

    Even now not all call packages include 0870 or 0844.

    But including revenue sharing numbers in packages (i.e. so they are zero fee) is in no way the answer. It is also extremely likely that it will never happen.



    Caiptean wrote on Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:39am:
    However, the primary issue is one of does the practice receive any income from callers?

    The primary issue is whether the practice receives subsidy. "Income" can be denied where it is not paid money directly, but all users of 084x revenue sharing benefit from subsidy from callers as a result of their choice of number.

    Any revenue share payments, or "income", come about as a result of the subsidy and are therefore cash-back for the service the practice receives from its telephone company.

    Read more on this in my blog: How do 084x numbers work?



    Caiptean wrote on Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:39am:
    As for public bodies (such as my County Council) I gained their geographical numbers through an FoI request.

    I hope that they are listed as verified in the SAYNOTO0870 database.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:50am

    derrick wrote on Mar 31st, 2010 at 11:27am:
    My surgery still has the geo number it had before they introduced their 0844 number, in fact it is on some, (?), doctors prescriptions! and on their website, although in the practice they have a scrolling board with various info on it including the "new" 0844 number.

    I use the geo number when I need to phone them so cannot comment on how the 0844 works.

    When I use the geo number it is answered pretty quickly by a human with them saying hello then the name of the practice, I then can ask whatever I like really, including booking an appointment.


    So all in all it works well for me.



    The Park Medical centre has moved premises, (about half a mile), it has changed the name to Cottam Lane surgery, although keeping the headline name Park Medical centre, they moved in July but I only found out last week when I called the geo number for an appointment this week, previously when using this geo number I was answered by a human, but this time I was met by the menu, (I assume this is the same menu as the 0844 number greeted callers?), and whilst speaking to the receptionist I was informed they changed the number, (back to the geo), in July when they moved, although I had always continued to use the geo number and have never used the 0844 number.

    When I went to the surgery yesterday it had 2 large notice boards outside proclaiming the geo number, and inside on their scrolling reference board gave the surgery number as the geo one

    So this just goes to prove that the rubbish they spouted about “can only do menu systems on 0844” was a load of BS, as they are doing it now on a geo number!


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:57am

    derrick wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:50am:

    derrick wrote on Mar 31st, 2010 at 11:27am:
    My surgery still has the geo number it had before they introduced their 0844 number, in fact it is on some, (?), doctors prescriptions! and on their website, although in the practice they have a scrolling board with various info on it including the "new" 0844 number.

    I use the geo number when I need to phone them so cannot comment on how the 0844 works.

    When I use the geo number it is answered pretty quickly by a human with them saying hello then the name of the practice, I then can ask whatever I like really, including booking an appointment.


    So all in all it works well for me.



    The Park Medical centre has moved premises, (about half a mile), it has changed the name to Cottam Lane surgery, although keeping the headline name Park Medical centre, they moved in July but I only found out last week when I called the geo number for an appointment this week, previously when using this geo number I was answered by a human, but this time I was met by the menu, (I assume this is the same menu as the 0844 number greeted callers?), and whilst speaking to the receptionist I was informed they changed the number, (back to the geo), in July when they moved, although I had always continued to use the geo number and have never used the 0844 number.

    When I went to the surgery yesterday it had 2 large notice boards outside proclaiming the geo number, and inside on their scrolling reference board gave the surgery number as the geo one

    So this just goes to prove that the rubbish they spouted about “can only do menu systems on 0844” was a load of BS, as they are doing it now on a geo number!

    Err, so what are these numbers?  :-? :-? ::) ::)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:57am:
    Err, so what are these numbers?  :-? :-? ::) ::)



    0844 4720001
    01772 726500

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:12pm

    derrick wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm:

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:57am:
    Err, so what are these numbers?  :-? :-? ::) ::)



    0844 4720001
    01772 726500

    So if you have known these numbers all along, why have they never been made available for listing in the database, so as to allow others patients who visit this site to use them?  :-?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:23pm

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:12pm:

    derrick wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm:

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:57am:
    Err, so what are these numbers?  :-? :-? ::) ::)



    0844 4720001
    01772 726500

    So if you have known these numbers all along, why have they never been made available for listing in the database, so as to allow others patients who visit this site to use them?  :-?



    They have, somewhere by me in one of the threads, can't find it at the moment, but I would never hold something like that back!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:46pm

    derrick wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:23pm:

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:12pm:

    derrick wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm:

    Dave wrote on Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:57am:
    Err, so what are these numbers?  :-? :-? ::) ::)



    0844 4720001
    01772 726500

    So if you have known these numbers all along, why have they never been made available for listing in the database, so as to allow others patients who visit this site to use them?  :-?



    They have, somewhere by me in one of the threads, can't find it at the moment, but I would never hold something like that back!

    I have added this number to the database with a note to say that the 0844 number has been discontinued, and 01772 number publicised by the surgery.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by cooktot on Jan 4th, 2011 at 10:39pm
    Hi, cooktot here. I feel that the subject of 0844 prefix numbers for doctors surgeries seems to have been well stitched up.
    However, if anyone knows of a normal working landline number for the Leckhampton Surgery, 17 Moorend Park Road, Cheltenham GL53 0LA Telephone No 08444772432, I should be most grateful to receive it. I have been trying to find this for so long.
    Thanks anyone still visiting the site!

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jan 4th, 2011 at 10:57pm

    cooktot wrote on Jan 4th, 2011 at 10:39pm:
    Hi, cooktot here. I feel that the subject of 0844 prefix numbers for doctors surgeries seems to have been well stitched up.
    However, if anyone knows of a normal working landline number for the Leckhampton Surgery, 17 Moorend Park Road, Cheltenham GL53 0LA Telephone No 08444772432, I should be most grateful to receive it. I have been trying to find this for so long.
    Thanks anyone still visiting the site!

    Hello and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    Thanks for giving the information to help us. The website is [url=www.leckhamptonsurgery.co.uk[/url]]www.leckhamptonsurgery.co.uk[/url]

    In a previous posting on this thread I explained how these surgeries have blocks of numbers and if you find one, you can often work out the proper main number behind the 0844. It is also not uncommon to find the main number as the first in the sequence, which will end 0.

    I used Google to search the surgery's website for 01242 by typing site:leckhamptonsurgery.co.uk 01242

    Two results come up. A newsletter (no longer available) with flu vaccination number 01242 541686. The Primary Health Care Team are on 01242 541692. Note the similarities between the two numbers.

    Remember I said often it's the first in the sequence (therefore ending 0), well I tried 541680 because it's lower than the two I've found and what do you know, but it's the alternative to calling the premium 0844 number!

    I've listed this in the database for everyone to use.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by cooktot on Jan 7th, 2011 at 10:15pm
    Hi Again, cooktot here. I think I need to thank you Dave for doing such a good job searching out my doctor's surgery landline number.
    Are you sure your first name isn't Sherlock?
    I rang the surgery this afternoon from my mobile on behalf of a neighbour and had to wait ages even to leave a message.
    I was delighted to find the answer!
    Thanks again for your efforts.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jan 7th, 2011 at 10:25pm

    cooktot wrote on Jan 7th, 2011 at 10:15pm:
    Hi Again, cooktot here. I think I need to thank you Dave for doing such a good job searching out my doctor's surgery landline number.
    Are you sure your first name isn't Sherlock?
    I rang the surgery this afternoon from my mobile on behalf of a neighbour and had to wait ages even to leave a message.
    I was delighted to find the answer!
    Thanks again for your efforts.

    Hello cooktot. No problem.

    Part of it was luck in finding the clues which the surgery had provided; in other cases I haven't been so successful.

    As you're now a member of the forum, do post about any updates you find are necessary in the database, whether it be numbers that don't work (say why they don't work, eg not recognised, ring no answer etc) or unverifieds that work and can therefore be verified.  :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Feb 8th, 2011 at 10:14am

    sherbert wrote on Oct 15th, 2007 at 4:13pm:
    I see the Holbrook surgery has an email contact. I wonder if you can make an appointment on line? Indeed any other surgery that has an email address. Iguess if too many people do it that way they will take down the address as they wont be able to screw the sick.

    Enquiries@holbrooksurgery.com

    This is a paragraph from their web site..

    The cost of calling this new number has caused a lot of confusion and there has been a lot of misquoting of prices in the press.  The calls are charged at BTs local call rate on a standard line, it is NOT a higher rate 0870 type number.  If you have a ‘telephone package’ which promotes ‘free’ local calls they sometimes exclude the 0844 number.  If that is the case, ask your provider to include our number to the free section of your contract.  The cost for a 4 minute call to a 0844 number is under 20p from a landline, but will vary with calls from a mobile.

    Yea right, the provider is going to do that, I don't think. How can they get away by putting all this mis information about? Is that right the 20p for a 4 minute call? My mobile charges 20p a minute. >:( >:(


    You can now book appointment on line with the Holbrook Surgery http://www.holbrooksurgery.com/ instead of using their costly 0844 number

    However this bit amuses me

    If you require to be seen urgently please telephone the surgery on 0844 815 1072 for an appointment

    When ever I need to see my GP it is usually urgent. ::)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Feb 8th, 2011 at 8:59pm
    Looking at the Holbrook Surgery website,

    If you click on Tel No & Hyperlinks on the left hand side, under the main 0844 numbers are listed to Horsham numbers for the Health Visitor.

    Are these answered on site?

    Could this give you some ranges of numbers to try?

    Just a thought


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Feb 8th, 2011 at 9:57pm

    CJT-80 wrote on Feb 8th, 2011 at 8:59pm:
    Looking at the Holbrook Surgery website,

    If you click on Tel No & Hyperlinks on the left hand side, under the main 0844 numbers are listed to Horsham numbers for the Health Visitor.

    Are these answered on site?

    Could this give you some ranges of numbers to try?

    Just a thought



    I would very much doubt it. I do not believe they are based there......that is just my thought.

    Their number before they went to the rip off number a few years ago was 01403 755901

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Feb 8th, 2011 at 11:20pm
    I have had a look based on location/Dr's sugery and local phone code and stumbled accross this.

    It maybe worth trying the number, as Dave previously mentioned a Dr's he'd tried whose direct 0844 number ended in 0

    Let us know how you get on.

    :)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Feb 9th, 2011 at 8:18am
    No, that was one of the old numbers. The last time I tried that one you got  a message to dial the 0844 one >:(

    Thanks anyway for your sleuthing ;)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 22nd, 2011 at 10:10am
    Off topic replies have been moved to This Thread

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by mhairi on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 7:47pm
    I am looking for the number of the Bloxham (Godswell Lodge) Medical Centre, OX 15, number is  08444778595. I have looked online, on this site and on Yell.com and asked the surgery for a UK landline number but to no avail. Their dispensary has a local number but they can't put me through. I hope you can help?

    Many thanks,  Dr Mhairi Livingston


    DaveM wrote on Jan 3rd, 2006 at 1:26pm:
    Whilst I sympathise with the people that have had their Doctors Surgery change their number over to 0844, it is FUTILE for them to put their details in the ADD A NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER section if the old number is not working !

    I have had some 20 or so added over the last 6 months, all with the exact same problem and I'm afraid that there is absolutely nothing I can do except DELETE them as NOT WORKING !

    The item added today was for Wigmore Lane Health Centre, Luton. LU2 8BG run by Dr CDW Ellis & Partners, which has moved from 01582 483338 to 0844 4770958, the old number now just giving the new number repeatedly.

    Please don't give me 01582 707333 which is for the Health Centre & NOT the Doctors, likewise for 01582 481301 which is just for Dr. N Shankar.

    Anyone with any additional information or comments please add your sixpenneth.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 8:06pm
    Hello mhairi

    Perhaps this may work : 01295 720 347

    please post back and let us know


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by mhairi on Feb 25th, 2011 at 12:43pm
    Hi,

    Many thanks for the suggestion of 01295720347 but when it is answered there is silence.

    Mhairi


    CJT-80 wrote on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 8:06pm:
    Hello mhairi

    Perhaps this may work : 01295 720 347

    please post back and let us know


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 25th, 2011 at 12:49pm

    mhairi wrote on Feb 23rd, 2011 at 7:47pm:
    I am looking for the number of the Bloxham (Godswell Lodge) Medical Centre, OX 15, number is  08444778595. I have looked online, on this site and on Yell.com and asked the surgery for a UK landline number but to no avail. Their dispensary has a local number but they can't put me through. I hope you can help?

    I posted some guidance on this topic here.

    If you happen to know a staff member's direct number, then it might be useful.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:04pm
    The contact page gives the details for Hook Norton Surgery:

    Hook Norton Surgery
    Bourne End Surgery
    The Bourne
    Hook Norton
    OX15 5PB

    Telephone: 01608 737302

    I've just tried this telephone number and it is answered with a message which says it's Bloxham Surgery. This is the same response when calling the 0844 number.

    There is a short period of silence before the ringing kicks in which suggests that could be diverted. It's worth bearing in mind that it may or may not be diverted to the same place as the 0844 number all the time.

    Do let us know how you get on with this.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by mhairi on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:50pm
    That is the same as when I use the 0844, you are a genius! I also complained to the Practice Mgr and she asked to see my phone bills itemising my costs to wait for an answer to book an appt and she said she will take it up with their provider who has stated we don't pay any extra by dialling 0844!


    Many thanks for your help!

    Mhairi

    Dave wrote on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:04pm:
    The contact page gives the details for Hook Norton Surgery:

    Hook Norton Surgery
    Bourne End Surgery
    The Bourne
    Hook Norton
    OX15 5PB

    Telephone: 01608 737302

    I've just tried this telephone number and it is answered with a message which says it's Bloxham Surgery. This is the same response when calling the 0844 number.

    There is a short period of silence before the ringing kicks in which suggests that could be diverted. It's worth bearing in mind that it may or may not be diverted to the same place as the 0844 number all the time.

    Do let us know how you get on with this.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:58pm

    mhairi wrote on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:50pm:
    That is the same as when I use the 0844, you are a genius! I also complained to the Practice Mgr and she asked to see my phone bills itemising my costs to wait for an answer to book an appt and she said she will take it up with their provider who has stated we don't pay any extra by dialling 0844!

    Sadly this is the incredulous nonsense we hear alot. Contrary to what some seem to believe, we now have a system whereby there are multiple telephone providers which means that caller and receiver are often with different telcos. It is therefore beyond the receiver's provider's control what callers are charged.

    Suffice to say that the receiver takes a subsidy of around 5 pence per minute on the 0844 call and that is by design of these numbers. Clearly this surgery lives in cloud cuckoo land.  ::)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by bazzerfewi on Feb 25th, 2011 at 2:29pm

    mhairi wrote on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:50pm:
    That is the same as when I use the 0844, you are a genius! I also complained to the Practice Mgr and she asked to see my phone bills itemising my costs to wait for an answer to book an appt and she said she will take it up with their provider who has stated we don't pay any extra by dialling 0844!


    Many thanks for your help!

    Mhairi

    Dave wrote on Feb 25th, 2011 at 1:04pm:
    The contact page gives the details for Hook Norton Surgery:

    Hook Norton Surgery
    Bourne End Surgery
    The Bourne
    Hook Norton
    OX15 5PB

    Telephone: 01608 737302

    I've just tried this telephone number and it is answered with a message which says it's Bloxham Surgery. This is the same response when calling the 0844 number.

    There is a short period of silence before the ringing kicks in which suggests that could be diverted. It's worth bearing in mind that it may or may not be diverted to the same place as the 0844 number all the time.

    Do let us know how you get on with this.



    I have just tried the 01608 737302 number and it is answered as the doctors surgery. If you still need to contact them it may be worth trying them again and it only rang 5 times.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by pipsonic on Apr 29th, 2011 at 3:51pm
    the department of health told GPs to stop using 0844 numbers and any if your doctor uses them you must contact your local primary care trust and complain
    the doctors that say fetch your bill is wrong because when you have free call numbers on your line they only cover 01/02/03 so if the number was right then the call would be free
    thanks pip
    ps in may which mag 2011

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Apr 29th, 2011 at 3:59pm

    pipsonic wrote on Apr 29th, 2011 at 3:51pm:
    the department of health told GPs to stop using 0844 numbers and any if your doctor uses them you must contact your local primary care trust and complain
    the doctors that say fetch your bill is wrong because when you have free call numbers on your line they only cover 01/02/03 so if the number was right then the call would be free
    thanks pip
    ps in may which mag 2011

    Hello and welcome to SAYNOTO0870.COM.

    We have been discussing the recent ellapse of the deadline which forbids GPs from using premium rate phone numbers over in the Government and Public Sector section of the forum.

    Perhaps you would like to continue comments over there. Perhaps you can use proper sentences as it's very difficult to understand what you're talking about.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on Apr 29th, 2011 at 4:02pm
    As we have said many, many times on this site, no provider, land line or mobile, gives you free calls.

    Inclusive maybe but they are never free.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by derrick on Apr 29th, 2011 at 4:25pm

    sherbert wrote on Apr 29th, 2011 at 4:02pm:
    As we have said many, many times on this site, no provider, land line or mobile, gives you free calls.

    Inclusive maybe but they are never free.



    Absolutely correct

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 29th, 2011 at 4:35pm

    sherbert wrote on Apr 29th, 2011 at 4:02pm:
    As we have said many, many times on this site, no provider, land line or mobile, gives you free calls.

    Inclusive maybe but they are never free.

    There are some contexts in which that distinction is important, and the point is fairly made - I do not disagree.

    We may however be considering the cost of a call to a GP surgery on a 084, as against a 01/02/03, number for a caller who has the latter as inclusive with their selected package.

    In this case it is perfectly correct to say that a call to a 01/02/03 number would be "FREE OF ANY CALL CHARGE", whereas a 084 call would not.

    Access to NHS services is (or rather should be) "free at the point of need". In fact this only means that it is "FREE OF ANY CHARGE BY THE NHS SERVICE PROVIDER". You may still have to pay your bus fare or for petrol and parking for your car when visiting the hospital or surgery. Similarly, you may have to pay the rental for your telephone line and perhaps a standard call charge when contacting your GP by telephone.

    What is unacceptable is to incur an additional charge, above what is "standard", to the benefit of the NHS provider. That is what happens when GPs adopt revenue sharing telephone numbers or when hospitals impose car parking charges other than what would be normal for the locality.


    Please understand that I do not disagree with the general point about what is "free" in absolute terms. We must however consider specific cases with reference to what is relevant and just what it is that something is "free of". "Free ... of a call charge", "Free ... of a premium charge" etc. is not the same as "Free ... of any cost". In common use of language we do not always add the extra words, but leave them to be assumed by the context.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on May 5th, 2011 at 3:36pm

    sherbert wrote on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:43pm:

    Martin_rosen wrote on Nov 3rd, 2009 at 4:27pm:
    I am looking for a geo-number for Parkfield Medical Centre, in Potters Bar, Herts.   Every site that I have checked gives 0844 or 0870 numbers.

    I thought all NHS facilities had to give out geographical numbers now.



    Try this and see if this works 01707 659 923

    If it does please report back and let us know



    I reported back in November 2009 that it was n/u.

    Out of interest I tried it again today.  It now rings, but after some time it responds with an answering machine that your call cannot be taken.  Unfortunately it does not announce who I have called.

    If I was ringing the surgery I would expect an answer during the daytime.

    Is there a reverse number lookup available somewhere to find out the subscriber to that number?

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by CJT-80 on May 5th, 2011 at 6:09pm
    Martin, are you a Surgery User?

    If so they invite you to provide feedback via their website: http://www.parkfieldmedicalcentre.co.uk/contactus/index.html

    I would recommend doing so and advising them you are unable to call 0844 numbers do to their costs, and request an 01/02 number.

    Let us know how you get on.


    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on May 5th, 2011 at 8:52pm
    I have been in contact with them.   They say before they had the 0844 service they were complaints that people cannot get through.  They say they provide a service where patients can get their repeat prescriptions, test results etc online.    They also say that since introducing the service they have not had any complaints from patients about not getting through.   It benefits callers by telling them they are second or sixteenth in the queue.  They expect the latter to call back at another time (another call !).   They also told me that they have a long term contract with the telecom company providing the service.

    When I have actually visited the surgery a couple of times, I mention to the receptionist about the number, and they say that they have to use that number themselves when they want to ring through.

    I don't use the surgery for myself, but have to sometimes call them on behalf of an elderly relative.

    (PS Are you my twin, we have an uncanny resemblence !)

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Jun 9th, 2011 at 11:50am
    My surgery, Everglade Medical Practice, in London, NW9 are proposing to changeover to an 0844 number from the end of this month.

    Their leaflet explains that the cost of 4.6pm is equivalent to a first class stamp for a 10 mintue call (irrelevant - who writes to their doctor for an appointment  !).

    They also write that they will not be making a profit from these calls.   If it is break-even, then they may as well keep the old system.

    The best one is that they say it is 'fully compliant with all NHS regulations'.    They obiviously haven't been made aware of the Secretary of State for the Department of Health who gave a Direction to NHS bodies in 2009, which said that these calls must be equivalent to a geographical number.   I have geographical numbers in my 'free' package, and if I extended it to 0845 calls, I would still have to pay for this number.

    I am writing to the Practice Manager, and will also complain to the local press etc.

    I am told by the receptionist that the old phone system will be taken out, but will try the old number after the relevant date - I expect there will be a recorded message.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Dave on Jun 9th, 2011 at 12:45pm

    Martin_rosen wrote on Jun 9th, 2011 at 11:50am:
    Their leaflet explains that the cost of 4.6pm is equivalent to a first class stamp for a 10 mintue call (irrelevant - who writes to their doctor for an appointment  !).

    And these are BT rates are they? 4.6ppm for a 0844 number..not sure what they're talking about but there's no such number charged at that rate, whether the price includes VAT or not.

    Most GPs on 0844 numbers are using g6 ones which is 4.255ppm exc VAT and 5.105ppm inc VAT. The 0844 g11 number type (the next one down pricewise) is what they've been signing up to recently (based on those cases I've seen) and it is 3.404ppm excluding VAT and 4.084ppm inclusive of VAT. All calls incur a Call Set-up Fee of 12.5 pence.



    Martin_rosen wrote on Jun 9th, 2011 at 11:50am:
    They also write that they will not be making a profit from these calls.   If it is break-even, then they may as well keep the old system.

    Ah, that old chestnut! ::)

    I refer to the most recent blogging from NHS Patient:


    Quote:
    It is for accountants and economists to determine whether such financial benefit is properly described as "income", "profit", "subsidy" or whatever. There can be no dispute that financial benefit is achieved in some way. (Claims by some NHS bodies that they allow their telephone company to retain this benefit without any consideration demand investigation.)




    Martin_rosen wrote on Jun 9th, 2011 at 11:50am:
    The best one is that they say it is 'fully compliant with all NHS regulations'.    They obiviously haven't been made aware of the Secretary of State for the Department of Health who gave a Direction to NHS bodies in 2009, which said that these calls must be equivalent to a geographical number.   I have geographical numbers in my 'free' package, and if I extended it to 0845 calls, I would still have to pay for this number.

    Clearly these people have never used a mobile phone, or are aware of the BT Unlimited Anytime Calling Plan in which all normal calls are included and likewise Talk Anytime from TalkTalk. They have obviously missed all advertisements for a company by the name of Virgin Media.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Martin_rosen on Jun 9th, 2011 at 4:21pm
    Thank you for this Dave.  I shall incorporate it into my letter.

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by sherbert on May 8th, 2012 at 5:30pm
    Horsham patients paying £1.60 a minute to call the doctor’s surgery



    Published on Tuesday 8 May 2012 17:04

    PATIENTS paying up to £1.60 a minute calling their doctors’ surgeries are not being given the option to be called back despite work by NHS Sussex to help reduce charges.

    Following a Parliamentary debate in January where ministers highlighted patients’ concerns about calling 0844 numbers to make appointments, NHS Sussex is working with surgeries to make sure patients are not charged premium rates and should be given the option to be called back.

    However, despite work by the trust, Francis Szilagi, a patient at Park Surgery in Albion Way, Horsham, said he has spent £1.60 a minute on the phone to the surgery.

    Mr Szilagi, of Oak Road, Southwater, said: “I am a pay as you go mobile phone user.

    “These days, when I want to make an appointment it is cheaper to actually go there on the bus from Southwater and make an appointment in person.

    “Depending when they answer the phone and how good the person dealing with you is, it can cost £5 to £6 - a lot more expensive than calling [the County Times] office, for instance.”

    In the Government debate on January 25 health minister Simon Burns said that patients should not pay more than what it would cost to call a landline number, including when calling from mobiles.

    If this were the case Derek Goodhall, of Farhall Crescent, Horsham, would not have paid more than £2 for a 17-minute call to his surgery.

    He said: “I recently had the need for an urgent appointment with a doctor at our local surgery, and this involved making two calls, as on the first call I was advised that there were no further emergency appointments available on that day, and to call again on the following day, as soon after eight o’clock as possible, in order to secure a place on the list.

    “A maximum of four minutes was spent actually talking to the receptionists during these calls, and as I pay 3p a minute for local calls, the cost would have been 12p.

    “My telephone bill shows that I have been charged £1.36 for 17 minutes, and £1.04 of this was for on-hold time.

    “Bear a thought also for the other 35 patients who were also on-hold initially during my second call.”

    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said they are working with surgeries to help patients.

    He said: “None of our practices are in breach of their contracts by having an 0844 telephone number.

    “We are assured that all our practices which use an 0844 number offer a call-back system. We regularly audit this.

    “We have made practices aware of alternative telephone systems to the 0844 number and continue to encourage them to consider these alternatives as their contract term ends.

    “We take our responsibility on this matter very seriously and are currently working with our practices to review what other steps, over and above the contractual requirements, can be taken to ensure there are no barriers to patients contacting their GP practice.”

    Mr Szilagi said Park Surgery has never offered to call him back.

    “The surgery has never mentioned this, and when I once asked them to call me back because my credit was low they refused. My partner called them this morning and the receptionist said ‘we don’t do that’,” he said.

    A spokesman from Park Surgery said: “We are currently looking into establishing a local number for patients to contact us on.

    “While we are advised by BT that our 0844 number costs around 2p less per minute than the local rate for the vast majority of telephone contracts, establishing a local number alongside this will ensure that patients have the option to use an alternative number should they choose to do so.

    “If a patient has a specific issue and needs to be called back we would expect our staff to be considerate to their needs.”


    Source:-
    http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/horsham-patients-paying-1-60-a-minute-to-call-the-doctor-s-surgery-1-3819187

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by catj on May 8th, 2012 at 5:59pm

    Quote:
    None of our practices are in breach of their contracts by having an 0844 telephone number.

    Simply by having an 0844 number, they are in breach of their contract.



    Quote:
    While we are advised by BT that our 0844 number costs around 2p less per minute than the local rate for the vast majority of telephone contracts,

    What sort of fantasy land do these idiots live in?

    There's no such thing as 'local rate', and hasn't been since about 2005 or so.

    0844 numbers cost more to call than 01/02/03 numbers for the vast majority of people using a landline.

    0844 numbers cost more to call than 01/02/03 numbers for all users of mobile phones.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 8th, 2012 at 7:32pm

    Quote:
    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said they are working with surgeries to help patients.

    He said: “None of our practices are in breach of their contracts by having an 0844 telephone number.

    “We are assured that all our practices which use an 0844 number offer a call-back system. We regularly audit this.

    “We have made practices aware of alternative telephone systems to the 0844 number and continue to encourage them to consider these alternatives as their contract term ends.

    “We take our responsibility on this matter very seriously and are currently working with our practices to review what other steps, over and above the contractual requirements, can be taken to ensure there are no barriers to patients contacting their GP practice.”

    The GMS Contract says that call-backs should be offered only after all possible "reasonable" steps have been exhausted.

    So either:

    1. NHS Sussex is engaged in a dereliction of duty by not enforcing contracts - It is normal industry practice for telephone providers to allow customers to change numbers from 084 to 034 within the terms of their contract. Such a move by the GPs in Sussex would merely remove the illegal charges which they placed on patients, a move which is "reasonable".

    - OR -

    2. One or more phone system providers (providers to the GPs) are acting to prevent their customers from complying with the NHS Constitution - If the provider(s) in question deviat from the norm and impose a penalty for any GP that wishes to switch number, then it/they should be named and shamed. I haven't come across any evidence of such penalties.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on May 9th, 2012 at 8:13am
    The West Sussex County Times quotes the surgery as saying :

    While we are advised by BT that our 0844 number costs around 2p less per minute than the local rate for the vast majority of telephone contracts, establishing a local number alongside this will ensure that patients have the option to use an alternative number should they choose to do so."

    This is just NOT CREDIBLE.  Would BT actially say this and stand by such a statemernt?

    Can we contact the BT PR/Press department and get their comments on this.    We might find that the surgery have been caught telling lies as many surgeries and PCTs have been doing over the years regarding the abuse of patients and use of 0844 numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on May 9th, 2012 at 9:37am
    I think this is the only quote that is needed:

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-03-27a.1326.4&s=%28no+OR+not%29+AND+0844+AND+numbers#g1327.0

    There it is in black and white direct from the Secretary of State.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 9th, 2012 at 1:54pm

    loddon wrote on May 9th, 2012 at 8:13am:
    The West Sussex County Times quotes the surgery as saying :

    While we are advised by BT that our 0844 number costs around 2p less per minute than the local rate for the vast majority of telephone contracts, establishing a local number alongside this will ensure that patients have the option to use an alternative number should they choose to do so."

    This is just NOT CREDIBLE.  Would BT actially say this and stand by such a statemernt?

    The BT Press Office said last August that Unlimited Anytime is now its most popular plan. For subscribers to this package, calls to geographic and 03 numbers are free of charge, whilst 0844 g6 numbers are still the same price of 5.105 pence per minute plus 13.1 pence Call Set-up Fee. Calls to 0844 g11 numbers cost 4.084 pence per minute (plus the same Call Set-up Fee).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on May 9th, 2012 at 3:42pm
    So, black and white evidence that for the vast majority of BT customers 0844 numbers cost more to call than 01/02/03 numbers.

    Kinda disputes the rubbish spouted by the minions at the surgery.

    Title: Re:
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 10th, 2012 at 12:38pm
    The following post appeared earlier (and then disappeared - the link will come back to this post).


    ripoffbritain4 wrote on May 10th, 2012 at 9:19am:
    Hi,
    BBC1's Consumer affairs programme Rip Off Britain are currently looking for all your stories. Whatever the rip off we want to hear from you. We'd particularly like to hear from anyone who is happy to talk about the 0844 or 0845 numbers that GP's are seemingly still using. You can get in touch with us via email in the first instance at ripoffbritain@bb.co.uk.

    We looking forward to hearing from you.

    The message appeared to be repeating the essence of information already published on the Rip Off Britain webpage, so the request stands in principle.

    The email address is not as stated (mis-typed?), it is ripoffbritain@bbc.co.uk.

    Rip Off Britain 1 did a good piece on the issue - watch here.

    Efforts to get suitable "victims" to feature on Rip Off Britain 3 were not successful - see this posting.
    This web site did however secure some very favourable coverage from a road show item.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 15th, 2012 at 4:03am
    Another surgery has jumped on the bandwagon:

    HIGHAMS PARK: Outrage over surgery call cost hike


    Quote:
    THE boss of a GP surgery which has opted to introduce a more expensive 0844 number has said hard-up patients should "negotiate a better deal" for using their mobile phones.

    Handsworth Medical Practice in Highams Park has been heavily criticised for penalising people who are ill at a time when household budgets are being squeezed.

    […]

    But practice manager Josie Camplin defended the move.

    She said: "The number was changed because we had to have a new telephone system and that’s the number we were issued.

    "It’s cheaper than most rates on BT landlines. [Patients] need to negotiate a new mobile phone package."

    Of course, in practice, telephone users don't have any power to negotiate; they must take what tariffs are on offer. It's a case of "take it or leave it".

    The most popular BT package is the Unlimited Anytime one and calls now cost just over 4 pence per minute (plus the 13.1p connection fee) more whereas calls to a geographic number would cost nothing.

    The GMS Contract states:

    Quote:
    29B. The Contractor shall not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

    Clearly the Practice knows that calls do cost more as she wouldn't be suggesting that it is up to patients to "negotiate a better deal".

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 16th, 2012 at 5:21pm
    Source: Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph

    Ill feeling over phone call cost


    Quote:
    A medical practice has been urged to drop its high-cost phone line after it was branded unfair by patients.

    Rothwell and Desborough Healthcare Group introduced an 0844 number for the newly-opened Rothwell Medical Centre, in Desborough Road, this year.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on May 18th, 2012 at 12:10pm
    Concern over cost of phone calls to GPs


    Quote:
    Ten practices in Crawley are using 0844 numbers instead of the local area code and patients claim this is escalating prices for mobile phone users trying to book appointments.

    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said the cost of using 0844 numbers was the same as a local call for people using a land line.


    The local MP, Henry Smith, is getting involved.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 18th, 2012 at 4:19pm
    fairtelecoms has published NHS 084 numbers - Evidence of call charges which gives many examples of where callers pay more to ring 084 numbers. The document is spread over 2 PDF files, one of which includes a table of call rates and indication where callers pay more and the other document contains copies of providers' pricing literature along with annotations to assist with interpretation of the data.

    The page ends with a list of packages where 084 numbers cost more (this list is also included in the main document).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on May 18th, 2012 at 4:21pm
    Source: The Yorkshire Times

    MP WINNING CAMPAIGN AGAINST 'RIP-OFF' DOCTORS' PHONE NUMBERS


    Quote:
    Dozens of GPs have stopped - or pledged to stop - using rip-off phone numbers just months after they were criticised by a local MP.

    In December, John Healey's research showed two thirds of doctors' surgeries in Rotherham and a third of those in Barnsley had 0844 or 0845 numbers - which can cost patients 40p per minute.

    Now, in Rotherham, although 23 surgeries still have 084 numbers, 21 have begun taking steps to change their number and should have moved to a geographical rate by the end of June.

    In Barnsley the last practice will migrate to a geographical rate this month.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 22nd, 2012 at 12:11am
    More local radio coverage scheduled on Tuesday (this) morning.

    BBC Radio Surrey at 7.30, BBC Radio Sussex at 8.20.

    (apologies for the late notice)

    Please make contact through www.fairtelecoms.org.uk.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by John Buchanan on May 26th, 2012 at 4:37pm
    I wrote to Havering NHS Primary care trust to complain about use of 0844 number by Western Road medical Centre, Romford. (Your geographical alterntive is good.) I have received a reply.
    Quote:
    Use of 084 telephone numbers by GP practices
    There is a contractural obligation for practices to review their telephone contract if they use an 084 number.  The Department of Health clearly state, however, that there is no ban on the use of this number.
    GP practices are independent businesses and we are not able to dictate which telephone service provider they enter into a contract with.  We have suggested that practices consider other available options, such as moving to an 03 number and changing from an 084 telephone provider when their contract ends.
    We requested all GP practices, using an 084 number, to review their current contractural arrangements.   Reasonable steps should have been taken if they were not complying with the Department of Health directive.  Also, in response to this directive, we audited practices in June 2011 to ensure this had been done.  Practices using 084 numbers confirmed their compliance.  This means that the cost of a call to the practice is comparative to a call being made to an equivalent geographical standard BT land line number. The 084 telephone provider NEG undertook an extensive analysis of call costs to support GPs with compliance.  Practices used this as the basis of the audit they undertook*
    *
    http://www.networkeuropegroup.com/documents/SupportingGPswithCompliance.pdf
    We will be further auditing practice compliance of the regulations, including the new conditions.
    Unless guidance is produced, which states that practices are not allowed to use 084 numbers, we can only audit practices against their compliance of current regulations.  This includes practices demonstrating their intention to rectify the costing of their 084 numbers, if need be, at the earliest opportunity.  For most, this would be at the end of the contract.
    The Department of Health has now included in their further Guidance of February 2012* *
    **
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/02/084-numbers
    Practices have to provide assurances that comparative costs are the same.  This includes calls from mobile phones or from other specific call plans/tariffs that may be in existence from other telecom services.
    Patients should aim to seek clarification, and details, of internal practice audits at their GP surgery relating to any changes the practice intend to make to rectify compliance.

    .

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on May 26th, 2012 at 5:11pm

    John Buchanan wrote on May 26th, 2012 at 4:37pm:
    I wrote to Havering NHS Primary care trust to complain about use of 0844 number by Western Road medical Centre, Romford. (Your geographical alterntive is good.) I have received a reply.
    Quote:
    Use of 084 telephone numbers by GP practices
    There is a contractural obligation for practices to review their telephone contract if they use an 084 number.  The Department of Health clearly state, however, that there is no ban on the use of this number.
    GP practices are independent businesses and we are not able to dictate which telephone service provider they enter into a contract with.  We have suggested that practices consider other available options, such as moving to an 03 number and changing from an 084 telephone provider when their contract ends.
    We requested all GP practices, using an 084 number, to review their current contractural arrangements.   Reasonable steps should have been taken if they were not complying with the Department of Health directive.  Also, in response to this directive, we audited practices in June 2011 to ensure this had been done.  Practices using 084 numbers confirmed their compliance.  This means that the cost of a call to the practice is comparative to a call being made to an equivalent geographical standard BT land line number. The 084 telephone provider NEG undertook an extensive analysis of call costs to support GPs with compliance.  Practices used this as the basis of the audit they undertook*
    *
    http://www.networkeuropegroup.com/documents/SupportingGPswithCompliance.pdf
    We will be further auditing practice compliance of the regulations, including the new conditions.
    Unless guidance is produced, which states that practices are not allowed to use 084 numbers, we can only audit practices against their compliance of current regulations.  This includes practices demonstrating their intention to rectify the costing of their 084 numbers, if need be, at the earliest opportunity.  For most, this would be at the end of the contract.
    The Department of Health has now included in their further Guidance of February 2012* *
    **
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/02/084-numbers
    Practices have to provide assurances that comparative costs are the same.  This includes calls from mobile phones or from other specific call plans/tariffs that may be in existence from other telecom services.
    Patients should aim to seek clarification, and details, of internal practice audits at their GP surgery relating to any changes the practice intend to make to rectify compliance.

    .


    With regards to the reply, I have the following points to make:

    It HAS been stated, and I will get the link, by the Minister for the DOH, that NO practice should use an 084 number to be contacted by any patients or other practices.

    From the 1st * - NEG Europe provide the number and have NO influence on the cost of calling the 084 number. This is set by the calling provider of the caller and by the number type after 084.

    From the 2nd * - Comparative costs from Mobiles and landlines are NOT the same, they are almost always more expensive from a mobile than a landline. The ONLY call types that will be similar on mobile and landlines are: 01/02/03 numbers.

    I'd recommend looking at the Fair Telecom's site for more info.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on May 27th, 2012 at 2:52am

    Quote:
    The Department of Health clearly state, however, that there is no ban on the use of this number.

    While there is no explicit ban on 0844 numbers worded exactly like that in the printed guidelines, it is clearly stated that GPs can only use 0844 numbers if they cost less to call than 01 and 02 numbers. The problem for GPs is that 0844 numbers do not cost less to call than 01 and 02 numbers. Therefore 0844 numbers are effectively banned, even if many of those in charge can't bring themselves to actually state that outright.



    Quote:
    This means that the cost of a call to the practice is comparative to a call being made to an equivalent geographical standard BT land line number.

    Since when has the provider of the line owned by the person you are calling had anything to do with the costs? Calling someone with an 01 number rented from BT costs the same as calling someone with an 01 number rented from Sky as long as both calls are made by the same method. Or were they talking about calling from a BT landline and got confused?

    It is the callers phone service supplier that sets the charges for the calls that are made. A study of the call costs for all the major landline providers confirms that 0844 numbers either cost more or cost substantially more to call than 01 and 02 numbers. The costs are not comparative and 0844 numbers fail the test of costing the same or less than calling 01 numbers.

    This also applies when calling from a mobile phone where 0844 numbers always cost more to call than 01 numbers.



    Quote:
    The 084 telephone provider NEG undertook an extensive analysis of call costs to support GPs with compliance.  Practices used this as the basis of the audit they undertook

    The numbers that NEG used are flawed, inaccurate and are not representative.



    Quote:
    Unless guidance is produced, which states that practices are not allowed to use 084 numbers

    I'd have thought that this quote from the Secretary of State is clear enough?

    Quote:
    We have made it very clear that GPs should not be using 0844 numbers for that purpose and charging patients for them.

    See: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-03-27a.1326.4&s=%28no+OR+not%29+AND+0844+AND+numbers#g1327.0

    However, GPs never "charge patients for calls". The phone service company that the caller uses is the one that sends the bill and collects the money.



    Quote:
    This includes practices demonstrating their intention to rectify the costing of their 084 numbers

    GPs do not set the call charges for their numbers. The GP's telephone service provider do not set the call charges for the GPs numbers. Call charges are set by the company that the caller uses to make a call to their GP. However, GPs can influence the cost that callers pay by the type (01/02, 03, 084, 087) of number that they choose for their service.
    It's galling to think that the people charged with enforcing this regulation have absolutely no clue how the telephone system actually works.
    In order to comply with the directive that all callers must not pay more to call a GP than they would pay to call an 01 number, the GP must use an 01, 02 or 03 number.



    Quote:
    Practices have to provide assurances that comparative costs are the same.  This includes calls from mobile phones or from other specific call plans/tariffs that may be in existence from other telecom services.

    Where 0844 numbers are concerned, they cannot do so. 0844 numbers cost more than 01/02/03 numbers. It's very clear and can be confirmed by looking at the tariff lists for Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Tesco Mobile, Virgin, Lebara, TalkMobile, GiffGaff, etc, for mobile calls and for BT, Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk, and many others for landline calls.


    I cannot understand how more than two years after 0844 numbers were banned, certain people continue to try to defend the indefensible.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 28th, 2012 at 7:23am

    John Buchanan wrote on May 26th, 2012 at 4:37pm:
    I wrote to Havering NHS Primary care trust … I have received a reply.

    Quote:
    NEG undertook an extensive analysis of call costs to support GPs with compliance.  Practices used this as the basis of the audit they undertook.

    NEG / Daisy did indeed have to undertake a most extensive analysis. This must have been necessary for it to be able to select exceptional and perverse cases, discover figures that grouped in wholly irrelevant data, and also find ways of dismissing the vast majority of relevant cases, so as to come up with its conclusions.

    The Daisy document has the sole declared purpose of helping users of 084 numbers to pretend compliance.

    I introduce my analysis of the Daisy analysis, in my blog entry Supporting Surgery Line.


    The reply from the PCT fails to note that the DH Further Guidance states:


    Quote:
    We expect PCTs and primary medical services contractors locally to ensure telephone systems do not place a financial burden on patients or by persons making calls to the contractor’s practice in relation to primary medical services.

    This demands an active and objective approach to the issue from those under a statutory duty to have regard to the NHS Constitution, i.e. the GPs and the PCT.

    The NHS Constitution includes the statements:

    Quote:
    The NHS … has a duty to each and every individual that it serves

    We … make sure nobody is excluded

    Daisy suggests that a quite different approach is appropriate.

    Noting that an interested party has assembled some highly selective and misleading evidence, explicitly encouraging the terms of the NHS Constitution to be disregarded, does not amount to a satisfactory discharge of the duty held by Ms Alwen Williams, the Chief Executive of NHS North East London and the City (the Cluster including Havering PCT).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 28th, 2012 at 7:24am

    catj wrote on May 27th, 2012 at 2:52am:

    Quote:
    The Department of Health clearly state, however, that there is no ban on the use of this number.

    While there is no explicit ban on 0844 numbers … I'd have thought that this quote from the Secretary of State is clear enough

    [quote]We have made it very clear that GPs should not be using 0844 numbers for that purpose and charging patients for them.

    [/quote]
    It may be helpful to add to these comments.


    It is indeed stated in the Directions to NHS Bodies, and as follows in the DH Further Guidance

    Quote:
    GP practices and NHS bodies are free to continue using 084 numbers, providing patients are not charged more than the equivalent of calling a geographic number in the same manner

    This statement, and the greater cost of calling when "having regard to the arrangement as a whole" applies to ALL 084 numbers, it does not apply specifically to any subtype.

    The Hansard writers, as noted by TheyWorkForYou in the quoted reference, changed the "084" in the exchange between John Healey and Andrew Lansley (the Secretary of State) to "0844", to reflect the confusion shown by the latter in trying to reply to the question he was asked.

    The exchange in question is best understood from the official recording, starting at this link. Healey, with many GPs in his constituency having been using 0845 numbers, is clear - Lansley, unprepared for this supplementary question when discussing 111, is obviously well aware of the more commonly used 0844 and looks to Healey for confirmation that this was what he was referring to.


    All 3 types of 084 number (3/4/5) are banned under current conditions. All references to specific numbers in this context by the DH have always covered all 084 numbers. The failure to make the ban explicit by number range may have arisen from three considerations:
    [list bull-redsq]
  • When introducing an explicit ban on various ranges in 2005, the DH got too deeply involved in the issues and made the terrible mistake of omitting 084 numbers from the ban, by not properly understanding what it was doing. In 2009, it was anxious to neither admit to, nor repeat, this mistake.
     
  • The DH had been made aware of the perverse cases where callers pay a penalty rate for calls to geographic numbers, which exceeds that of the premium rate for an equivalent call to a 084 number.

    It had also noted the cases where telephone companies (notably BT) require all package subscribers to contribute towards the premiums paid on 0845 calls, rather than applying the premiums only to those who call these numbers.
    (This move by BT was in anticipation of an expected designation of 0845 as geographic rate, as referred to below. It was made in parallel with what was then an anticipation of the changes to 0870, which did occur a few months later.)

    The DH may have been misled into thinking that there was a serious possibility of all those who call a particular NHS provider being subject to one or other of these particular conditions. This absurd idea could have arisen from a misunderstanding about who sets the call charges incurred by callers for particular numbers.
     
  • At the time when the Directions to NHS Bodies and GP contract changes were being drafted, it was still widely believed by many that Ofcom would shortly be designating 0845 numbers as geographic rate, as it had done with 0870 a few months previously. If Ofcom had done so during 2010, the then set timescale for its review of 0845 (alone), a possible explicit ban on all 084 numbers would have had to be revised if and when these expected provisions came into effect.

    This change was not made and this idea has now been expressly abandoned. As we now know, Ofcom extended its 2010 review to cover all non-geographic numbers and also proposes to use its newly acquired additional powers to make forthcoming designations more effective than was possible with the change to 0870 in 2009.

    Ofcom now clearly states that 03 will remain as the only geographic-rated non-geographic range. (This leaves the situation of 055/056 numbers potentially in doubt. Although no such numbers are known to be used by NHS providers, this highlights the difficulty of industry-specific regulations which ban use of particular numbers by specifying a range in a changing regulatory environment.)
    Uncertainty about possible future regulations does not however excuse the failure of the DH to share an understanding of current actual charge rates for particular ranges that are widely in use with the many bodies which have to apply its stated requirements. Each and every one of these bodies is thereby left to each study the same nationally applicable published telephone tariffs for themselves. Because there are no significant distinct local issues (there is only one Constitution and set of principles for a National Health Service) there is no justification for this unnecessary duplication of effort by public officials and NHS providers.


    I make these points in an attempt to help an understanding of why use of 084 numbers was not banned explicitly, whereas the effect of the Directions and GP Contract revisions is that they are banned.


    (One further comment follows) …

  • Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 28th, 2012 at 7:24am
    … (continued from above)

    For the revised contractual conditions to be effective as a total ban on use of 084 numbers by NHS GPs, those currently using them must be able to cease doing so by taking a "reasonable step".

    They are required to consider variations to their current arrangements and take them if reasonable.

    To justify continuing use of a 084 number, those currently committed to network telephone service from a particular provider must demonstrate that if they were to migrate from a 084 number to the equivalent 034 number, they would be subjected to an unreasonable penalty charge. If any provider deviates from standard industry practice by imposing a penalty charge, for which there is no sound commercial justification, then it is vital that this is revealed in the public domain.


    Perhaps Daisy Group would like to explain that it helps its customers to comply with their NHS contracts, whilst continuing to use 084 numbers, by the imposition of such a charge. Only if this is made clear may it be recognised that use of 084 numbers is not banned. Alternatively it may wish to confirm that the advertised option of migration to 034 is offered on reasonable terms.

    Not one PCT has confirmed that Daisy's imposition of such a charge has been offered as evidence of compliance by any GP retaining a 084 number.

    Members may wish to join me in attempting to get Daisy to offer a public statement on this point. If we learn shortly that Matt Riley (founder and Chief Executive of Daisy) has been "fired" by Lord Sugar from the place on "The Apprentice" finalists interview panel which he secured last year, then he will doubtless be anxious to explain and justify himself. If he has been re-"hired", then his his position in public view will be refreshed.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 28th, 2012 at 2:22pm
    Following a major item in Series 1 and a plug for SayNoTo0870 in Series 3, I understand that BBC Rip-Off Britain is still keen to cover this issue in Series 4 (which is currently being prepared for broadcast in the late Autumn).

    Rather than a full item however, the plan is to cover the issue in the context of the "Pop up" shop being held in Gateshead on Sat / Sun, 16 / 17 June.

    Although there is a genuine "walk-in" element to this, the producers are very keen to hear from people who are able to attend the event and are ready to be filmed talking about how they have been ripped-off, with "an expert".

    Anyone keen to contribute should contact the BBC via the contact us form on the Rip Off Britain web page, as soon as possible.

    (Timing is important as some of the show content is prepared in advance.)

    Title: Re: GPs all over the UK (not just in England)
    Post by Dave on Jun 9th, 2012 at 2:23pm
    This matter was the subject of debate at the Northern Ireland Assembly on 29th May. You can watch the video of the discussion on BBC Democracy Live and read the transcript on TheyWorkForYou.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Jun 9th, 2012 at 8:25pm

    Quote:
    A number of benefits are associated with using the 0844 phone system. First, it allows GP surgeries to ensure that users do not hear an engaged tone but are placed in a queue

    No. That's a disadvantage. Your money is draining away before you get to speak to someone.




    Quote:
    The 23 GP practices [in NI] using 0844 numbers have revealed that early termination fees range from 9500 to 31000 pounds and that their service provider has offered the facility of having a normal local geographic number running in parallel to the 0844 number.

    There was no mention of alternative 03 numbers that GPs could start using tomorrow without having to invoke a termination fee. Why is the service provider not openly offering that option? Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and are treated as being part of 'inclusive' minutes.



    It was revealed that six of the contracts expire in 2015 and four in 2016. When were these contracts started? It's possible that these were started after the April 2010 ban on using numbers that 'cost more then the price of a geographic number to call'.

    Also not discussed was what measures are being taken to ensure that for GPs not currently using 0844 numbers that none of those start using 0844 numbers in the future. I'm sure that some of the providers of 0844 telephone number systems are still actively trying to get more GPs to sign up to use them.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jun 11th, 2012 at 2:14am
    I agree with catj


    Quote:
    There was no mention of alternative 03 numbers that GPs could start using tomorrow without having to invoke a termination fee. Why is the service provider not openly offering that option? Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and are treated as being part of 'inclusive' minutes.


    I read the whole thing from begining to end.

    Not one of the debators mentioned the 03 option - not even the one gentleman that appeared to know how most of the 0844 number cost was arrived at, Service charge etc.  How can it be that nobody has heard of 03 Migration - Is Wales so much in the Outback that their Parliament/Assembly Civil Servants are so out of date - The Person that mentioned the sayno Site must have heard of it so why didnt he make any mention of this.

    Perhaps someone should send one of them an email to enlighten them - or is there a conflict of interest shares wise - I bet not many would take a Bible Oath that they knew nothing about 03


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Jun 11th, 2012 at 7:11am
    Those didn't sound like Welsh accents to me.  ;D :P

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 11th, 2012 at 7:59am

    speedy wrote on Jun 11th, 2012 at 2:14am:
    … Perhaps someone should send one of them an email to enlighten them …

    All MLA's who spoke in the debate, including the minister, have been provided with a suitable briefing.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Aug 17th, 2012 at 12:53pm
    Source: Postcode Gazette

    GPs surgeries across city [Sheffield] flounting rules on using premium numbers


    Quote:
    However NHS Sheffield concedes that “no action has been taken to date” against any of the GPs practices flouting the Department of Health’s instructions – more than a year after they were supposed to have changed to a cheaper call service.

    The spokesperson added: “Where practices are unable to migrate to a geographical rate telephone number for contractual reasons, i.e. they would incur significant financial penalties for terminating a contract early, they have a "call back policy" in place. This means patients can request that the practice calls them.”

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 21st, 2012 at 5:26pm
    Following on from the previous posting and back in South Yorkshire, the BBC returned to the issue yesterday:

    On radio - hear this extract featuring a representative of the fair telecoms campaign. Also throughout the Toby Foster breakfast show.

    On TV - see this item from Look North (Yorkshire).

    South East Today are currently working on a piece for broadcast next week.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Aug 22nd, 2012 at 10:53am
    Arrrgggh - Call back. Is it only Dave who understands (not the MP nor the PCT) that to get a call back you have to call in the first place and wait in the queue.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:32pm
    A piece has just been published on the website of the Pulse:

    MP urges GPs to stop use of 0844 numbers


    Quote:
    A spokesperson for NHS Sheffield said: ‘Where practices are unable to migrate to a geographical-rate telephone number for contractual reasons – for example, they would incur significant financial penalties for terminating a contract early – they have a "call back policy" in place. This means patients can request that the practice calls them.'

    As well as the call back policy, the PCT seems to think that practices are prevented from changing numbers because they are tied into contracts for which there are penalties for ending early. There is no need to end a contract early; phone companies allow numbers to be changed during the period of contracts and without penalty. Should any system provider choose to deviate from this, and charge a penalty for switching numbers, then this is pivotal. Where this is the case, then it is system providers that are preventing practices from not charging more than a geographic call.

    This PCT and others are failing in their duty by incorrectly accepting that being tied into a contract means that a phone number can't be changed.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Aug 23rd, 2012 at 12:04am
    It seems that those charged with setting policy and carrying out enforcement have no idea about 03 numbers.

    03 numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 numbers and included in bundled minutes from mobiles and landlines.

    Do they really have no clue or is there some hidden reason why they keep on avoiding the obvious?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Aug 23rd, 2012 at 1:56pm

    catj wrote on Aug 23rd, 2012 at 12:04am:
    Do they really have no clue or is there some hidden reason why they keep on avoiding the obvious?

    I expect it's a mixture of not having a clue and knowing that the operation of an 03 number will cost GPs a small amount more than an 01 or 02 number (and, obviously an 084 number).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 24th, 2012 at 6:19pm
    Interesting item on the BBC Radio London Breakfast programme this morning - listen here.

    This includes clarification of the BMA position and an invitation from BBC Radio London for details of surgeries - which they will investigate!


    BBC South East Today (TV) are doing an item on this evening's show (starting at 6:30). A recording will be published following the broadcast.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Aug 24th, 2012 at 10:19pm
    I listened to the broadcast linked above and is appears that the BMA guy is sympathetic and agreed that GPs should not be using 0844 and upto 25 taking on 0844 since the ban although I take his amazment that this is still going on with a big pinch of salt. If the BMA dont know what their own GPs are doing what are they doing in that Job. Are the BMA so out of touch with the Media - I know they have been advised of the option for 03 but are still pretending that it doesn't exist. 

    What was more depressing was that as the very end of the broadcast the Interviewer said I believe that all those GPs that they contacted were going to change to 020 numbers shortly, but dont hold your breath - they have ignored the 03 Option since being available in 2007 so why not change right now instead of 'Shortly'

    I am afraid once again a opportunity to ask the BMA why hasn't there been immediate 03 Migration - not Fairtelecom's fault as the 2 interviews were seperate so no real opportunity to ask that question.

    What is urgently needed right now is a big National Paper and Media campaigne asking WHY HAVENT ALL GPs GONE TO 0344 and DO IT NOW !!!!  With the added line SHAME ON YOU  >:(

    I am thinking of getting onto the Kent Messenger to see if they might play ball 

    Title: MP Urges Gps to stop using 0844
    Post by bigjohn on Aug 25th, 2012 at 5:40am

    An MP has called on GPs to stop using 0844 numbers in their practices, as new research shows 11% of surgeries are still using the premium-rate numbers.

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/newsarticle-content/-/article_display_list/14458352/mp-urges-gps-to-stop-use-of-0844-numbers

    Title: Re: MP Urges Gps to stop using 0844
    Post by sherbert on Aug 25th, 2012 at 8:52am

    bigjohn wrote on Aug 25th, 2012 at 5:40am:
    An MP has called on GPs to stop using 0844 numbers in their practices, as new research shows 11% of surgeries are still using the premium-rate numbers.

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/newsarticle-content/-/article_display_list/14458352/mp-urges-gps-to-stop-use-of-0844-numbers


    Mine is still in the 11% group >:(


    http://www.holbrooksurgery.com/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Aug 25th, 2012 at 8:40pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Aug 24th, 2012 at 6:19pm:
    BBC South East Today (TV) are doing an item on this evening's [Fri Aug 24] show (starting at 6:30). A recording will be published following the broadcast.


    How do you watch this? 

    All I get is a page with the date and the show title at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01m3264

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Aug 25th, 2012 at 8:55pm

    catj wrote on Aug 25th, 2012 at 8:40pm:
    How do you watch this?

    As promised, a recording of the item has been published.

    It is available at this link.

    Unfortunately there was a delay in delivering this as the standard viewer I use (hosted by Virgin Media) was taken offline for a lengthy period. This outage affected other online facilities for myself and many other Virgin Media customers.

    Alternative arrangements are being made with a more reliable provider. Shortcut links already in use will be redirected.

    The temporary fix which was in place for a period should no longer be used.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Sep 22nd, 2012 at 10:31am
    As part of a continuing engagement with NHS officials, I have learned that GPs in the county of Hertfordshire (or at least those with 21 of the 175 surgeries) have a problem. They simply do not know what it costs to call them.

    I have issued a media release - http://tiny.cc/FTMR_Herts - to perhaps encourage help from their patients. This includes a list of the surgeries (derived from NHS Choices) and has been circulated to the relevant MPs - including the previous Secretary of State for Health, who may know something about this!


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 9th, 2012 at 3:37am
    Hi I have contacted Dan Jarvis "My Local MP for Barnsley Central" on a number of occassions and he has been cooperating with me.

    Does anybody have the latest figures on the number of surgeries still using 08 numbers in the Barnsley area, if so I will contact him in this regard.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Oct 9th, 2012 at 10:18am

    bazzerfewi wrote on Oct 9th, 2012 at 3:37am:
    Hi I have contacted Dan Jarvis "My Local MP for Barnsley Central" on a number of occassions and he has been cooperating with me.

    Does anybody have the latest figures on the number of surgeries still using 08 numbers in the Barnsley area, if so I will contact him in this regard.

    The database of 084 numbers in the NHS lists the number of GPs in Barnsley. Follow the link, then click "Regions"; then click "Organisations" for North of England; then scroll to the bottom of the page to see South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Cluster and its PCT counterparts. Select "List" or "Map" alongside Barnsley PCT to see the list or map.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 13th, 2012 at 1:34pm
    Northgate Village Surgery
    Northgate Avenue   Chester   CH2 2DX

    http://www.northgatesurgery.co.uk



    Quote:
    New Surgery Telephone Number

    As from the 4th October 2012, our surgery will have a new telephone system which we hope will help us to deal with your calls more efficiently.

    The Number is 08443 878396.      

    When possible, please call us from a landline or check with your mobile provider for the cost to you. One of our old numbers will be kept for a time but please be aware that this line will not place you into the new systems queue so there may be a delay answering your call.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Oct 13th, 2012 at 8:44pm

    Quote:
    The Number is 0844 387 8396.

    Un-****-ing-bel-ieve-ab-le!!!!!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Oct 15th, 2012 at 6:34pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Oct 13th, 2012 at 1:34pm:
    Northgate Village Surgery
    Northgate Avenue   Chester   CH2 2DX

    http://www.northgatesurgery.co.uk



    Quote:
    New Surgery Telephone Number

    As from the 4th October 2012, our surgery will have a new telephone system which we hope will help us to deal with your calls more efficiently.

    The Number is 08443 878396.      

    When possible, please call us from a landline or check with your mobile provider for the cost to you. One of our old numbers will be kept for a time but please be aware that this line will not place you into the new systems queue so there may be a delay answering your call.


    Good Evening,

    Might I recommend some constructive feedback from Fair Telecom's including links to the DoH website on using such numbers?

    There is a feedback form here: http://www.northgatesurgery.co.uk/contact_dlg1.aspx?p=N81121

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 15th, 2012 at 11:43pm

    CJT-80 wrote on Oct 15th, 2012 at 6:34pm:
    Might I recommend some constructive feedback from Fair Telecom's including links to the DoH website on using such numbers?

    Thanks for the tip.

    A media release has been issued, first being copied to the practice and other relevant personnel (see here).

    Feeds of published campaigning activities (including that through fair telecoms) are available here for viewing and subscription.

    Postings in this forum are made to alert, and perhaps encourage activity from, SayNoTo0870 followers.



    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by derrick on Oct 16th, 2012 at 11:50am
    And maybe those replying could include an 0844 number as their phone contact, these are freely available,(FOC), across the web.

    .

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 17th, 2012 at 4:36am
    All the following numbers are provided by Kingston Communications, and Talk Talk

    Barnsley PCT 56 Royston Group Practice 65d Midland Road, Royston, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S71 4QW 0844 477 2506 0844 (g6) Talk Talk Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 The Kakoty Practice - Sheffield Road Surgery 170 Sheffield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 4NW 0845 122 0809 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Gold Street Surgery 1a Gold Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 1TT 0845 122 2376 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Lundwood Medical Centre PMS Practice Pontefract Road, Lundwood, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S71 5PN 0845 122 7269 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Galtee More 164 Doncaster Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 1UD 0845 122 8023 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 McDonald KW & Partners 44 Cawthorne Road, Barugh Green, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S71 1LQ 0845 123 7574 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 McDonald KW & Partners 6 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2LT 0845 123 8836 845 Kingston Barnsley Central
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Brierley Medical Centre Church Drive, Brierley, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S72 9HZ 0845 120 9989 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Bell A R Mayflower Way, Wombwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S73 0AJ 0845 121 7223 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 The Kakoty Practice Worsbrough Mount Pleasant, West Street, Worsbrough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 5NT 0845 122 0819 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Worsbrough Health Centre Powell Street, Worsbrough, Barnsley S70 5NZ 0845 122 7487 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Worsbrough Health Centre Powell Street, Worsbrough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 5NZ 0845 123 6277 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Hourihane B & Partners George Street, Wombwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S73 0DD 0845 125 5069 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Walderslade Hoyland Surgery High Croft, Hoyland, Barnsley, S Yorkshire S74 9AF 0845 125 7247 845 Kingston Barnsley East
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Yaqub M Cliffe Road, Brampton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S73 0XP 0845 123 6788 845 Kingston Wentworth and Dearne
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Mohammed Ismail Kadar Sha Holly Bush Drive, Thurnscoe, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S63 0LT 0845 124 4378 845 Kingston Wentworth and Dearne
    .
    Barnsley PCT 56 Kadarsha SHM Goldthorpe Green, Goldthorpe, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S63 9EH
    0845 124 4378 845
    Kingston Wentworth and Dearne

    I have contacted both Kingston and Talk Talk :o on a number of occassions requesting the GEO numbers and they have always given me the alternative number.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 17th, 2012 at 4:39am
    If I had the time I would contact them myself but unfortunetly I do not at present. Maybe some of the numbers are on the database, but in any event it has been fruitful for me contacting these two providers in the past and just requesting the alternative 01226 numbers

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Oct 19th, 2012 at 10:50am
    The two surgeries that have recently converted to 084 numbers are featured in a story from E-Health Insider:

    Two new surgeries get 084 numbers

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Oct 20th, 2012 at 11:19am
    Here is another one from the Which Conversation thread - Street Lane Practice, Roundhay, Leeds, the Comment said it had a geo. number until a few months ago. He didnt give the 0844 number.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Oct 25th, 2012 at 2:26pm
    It's all happening in Kent!

    Another report, this time in the Kent Messenger:

    GPs will have to find a cure for costly 0844 phone calls


    fairtelecoms has published some comments following this particular report:

    A Message from Kent -
    "GP phone cost makes us sick" (PDF)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Nov 14th, 2012 at 9:05pm
    Here's a story from last week about GPs in Barking and Dagenham:

    Patients charged premium rates to call doctor’s surgeries

    Local MP Margaret Hodge says it's outrageous!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 1st, 2012 at 4:38pm
    Northgate surgery now offer a two teir system for contacting the surgery based on whether you pay for the call or not:

    http://www.northgatesurgery.co.uk/


    Quote:
    New Surgery Telephone Number

    As from the 4th October 2012, our surgery will have a new telephone system which we hope will help us to deal with your calls more efficiently.

    The Number is 08443 878396. Alternatively, you can still contact us on 01244 381418.      

    When possible, please call us from a landline or check with your mobile provider for the cost to you. One of our old numbers will be kept for a time but please be aware that this line will not place you into the new systems queue so there may be a delay answering your call.

    (Site updated 09/11/2012)

    Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
    Post by Dave on Dec 4th, 2012 at 5:57pm

    Dave wrote on Jun 24th, 2011 at 8:52pm:
    A story published by the Ongar Gazette today:

    084 number costs some BT callers 13p a minute

    A HEALTH centre is being accused of charging patients premium rates to call its phone number.

    Patients using the Ongar Health Centre have complained they are being charged more than the cost of a standard call when calling the surgery.

    Following the reporting of this story last year, Ongar Health Centre abandoned its 0844 number in favour of the geographic number 01277 362255.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 5th, 2012 at 12:24am

    Quote:
    Patients of the High Street Surgery and Medical Centre in Epping this week received letters advising them that, from January, open surgery in morning hours would cease.

    The letter said: “Patients will have to ring the surgery and leave contact details. Your usual GP, if they are available, or one of the other GPs will ring you back that day."

    The only number available for the surgery is a premium rate 0844 number - which can cost 5p per minute to call from landlines and up to 40p from mobile networks.

    There is no legislation banning the use of 0844 numbers at GP practices and West Essex PCT is unable to stop their use.



    http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/10087758.Patients_hit_out_as_doctor_s_surgeries_continue_to_use_costly_0844_numbers/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 7th, 2012 at 12:51am
    Blatant lies spouted by GP here...

    http://www.nhs.uk/Services/GP/PatientFeedback/DefaultView.aspx?id=41512



    Quote:
    the gp practice replied on 10 Oct 12

    We are aware there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about non-geographical telephone numbers, such as those starting with 0844, and the status of these numbers with regard to phone services within GP surgeries.
    As a valued customer of Surgery Line, we’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight and provide you with the facts behind the confusion.

    FACTS ABOUT 0844 NUMBERS:
    • 0844 numbers are not premium rate numbers.
    • The use of 0844 numbers within the NHS is not banned, provided that surgeries are satisfied that “having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.”
    • The cost of calling an 0844 number depends on the individual patient’s call package or ‘bundle’ for landline and mobile calls and is not necessarily more expensive than calling a geographical number. Under many landline packages such calls are in fact cheaper and we would be happy to discuss these with you if that would be helpful.
    • ‘Using an 0844 number can help a GP practice to offer additional services that improve patients’ access to care’ - according to Simon Burns, Minister for Health (Jan 2012).
    • Surgery Line offers the option of additional lines alongside 0844 numbers - including geographical numbers starting 01 and 02 and 03.


    We take compliance extremely seriously. This is why Surgery Line works with independent bodies that regularly review call charges and regulatory updates . We provide practices like yours with regular factsheets to help you understand the latest compliance issues.
    At Surgery Line we offer our customers access to the support of a large team with knowledge and understanding of the healthcare sector, to ensure you offer the best possible service for your patients at all times.

    Surgery Line is now under the ownership of Daisy Group plc, a market leader in business telecommunications, giving you the backing and peace of mind of a major national organisation, and the reassurance of a name you can trust.
    We are here to help – so if you have any concerns or questions, or would like some advice about 0844 numbers, please don’t hesitate to call a member of our Account Management Team on 0844 4773956.

    We are in the process of updating our “Supporting GPs with Compliance” document and will be sharing this with you in the coming weeks.


    North Brink Practice, 7 North Brink, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE13 1JU
    0844 477 3121


    (cont'd...)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 7th, 2012 at 12:54am

    Quote:
    We are aware there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about non-geographical telephone numbers, such as those starting with 0844, and the status of these numbers with regard to phone services within GP surgeries.

    As far as I can see, most of the confusion appears to stem from incorrect information issued by NEG/Daisy in the last 5 or 6 years.


    Quote:
    As a valued customer of Surgery Line, we’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight and provide you with the facts behind the confusion.

    Based on the previous record of NEG/Daisy, this won't be facts, but instead will be a whole load of incorrect information.


    Quote:
    FACTS ABOUT 0844 NUMBERS:
    • 0844 numbers are not premium rate numbers.

    0844 numbers are premium rate numbers (small "p").

    0844 numbers are not "Premium" (capital "P") like the Premium Rate Services using 09, 0871, 0872, 0873 and 070 numbers.

    0844 numbers are however, "premium rate" (small "p") in as much as the caller pays a "surcharge" or "premium" which is passed to the service provider. They are also "premium" in that for most phone users they "cost more" than calling 01, 02 and 03 numbers. The 0844 numbers are also not included in "inclusive" call allowances.


    Quote:
    • The use of 0844 numbers within the NHS is not banned, provided that surgeries are satisfied that “having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.”

    Since 0844 numbers cost more to call than 01, 02 and 03 numbers from most landlines and from most mobiles, 0844 numbers are BANNED in the NHS (see below). They would still be banned even if it was only "some" landline and/or "some" mobile users that "pay more" when calling 0844 numbers.


    Quote:
    • The cost of calling an 0844 number depends on the individual patient’s call package or ‘bundle’ for landline and mobile calls and is not necessarily more expensive than calling a geographical number.

    0844 numbers cost 25 to 41 pence per minute from mobile phones and are never included within "inclusive minutes" or "bundled" allowances. Where people have "inclusive" minutes in their mobile or landline deal this effectively makes their calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers "free". For pay-as-you-go users, the per-minute rate for 0844 numbers is higher than for 01 and 02 numbers. This means that calls to 0844 numbers "cost more" than 01 and 02 numbers and so 0844 numbers are BANNED in the NHS.

    The ruling is that for all patients the call must not cost more than an 01 or 02 number on the same price plan, at the same time of day, so the GP must use an 01 or 02 number - or an 03 number (03 numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 and 02 numbers and "inclusive minutes" also apply).


    Quote:
    Under many landline packages such calls are in fact cheaper and we would be happy to discuss these with you if that would be helpful.

    Calls to 0844 numbers cost 5 to 15 pence per minute from landlines. Calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers cost NOTHING for the vast majority of patients as they fall within their "inclusive minutes" bundle. 0844 numbers never appear within call bundles, "cost more" than 01 and 02 numbers and therefore 0844 numbers are BANNED in the NHS.

    The ruling is that for all patients the call must not cost more than an 01 or 02 number on the same price plan, at the same time of day, so the GP must use an 01 or 02 number - or an 03 number (03 numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 and 02 numbers and "inclusive minutes" also apply).


    Quote:
    • ‘Using an 0844 number can help a GP practice to offer additional services that improve patients’ access to care’ - according to Simon Burns, Minister for Health (Jan 2012).

    Irrelevant. The rulings cover call "price" not call queueing facilities. In any case, 03 numbers also offer the same call management facilities.


    Quote:
    • Surgery Line offers the option of additional lines alongside 0844 numbers - including geographical numbers starting 01 and 02 and 03.

    Once it is established that 0844 numbers "cost more" the only remedy is to change to an 01, 02 or 03 number and it is not at all appropriate to continue usage of the 0844 number.

    Some GPs claim to offer a "better service" if you call the 0844 number and a "reduced quality of service" if you call the geographic number. Offering a "two tier" service depending on the patient paying "more" is NOT allowed.


    Quote:
    We take compliance extremely seriously. This is why Surgery Line works with independent bodies that regularly review call charges and regulatory updates . We provide practices like yours with regular factsheets to help you understand the latest compliance issues.

    If this were true, GPs would no longer be using premium rate 0844 numbers.


    Quote:
    At Surgery Line we offer our customers access to the support of a large team with knowledge and understanding of the healthcare sector, to ensure you offer the best possible service for your patients at all times.

    Marketing drivel.


    Quote:
    Surgery Line is now under the ownership of Daisy Group plc, a market leader in business telecommunications, giving you the backing and peace of mind of a major national organisation, and the reassurance of a name you can trust.

    I personally don't trust them one bit. I've read too much of their garbage like that debunked above.


    (cont'd...)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 7th, 2012 at 12:54am

    Quote:
    We are here to help – so if you have any concerns or questions, or would like some advice about 0844 numbers, please don’t hesitate to call a member of our Account Management Team on 0844 4773956.

    Oh yeah, another premium rate number. They seem to really like them.


    Quote:
    We are in the process of updating our “Supporting GPs with Compliance” document and will be sharing this with you in the coming weeks.

    Great.

    It should say:

    Quote:
    The Secretary of State for Health (Andrew Lansley) said on 27th March 2012:
    "We have made it very clear that GPs should not be using 0844 numbers"

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-03-27a.1326.4&s=%28no+OR+not%29+AND+0844+AND+numbers#g1327.0

    01, 02 and 03 numbers cost most people NOTHING AT ALL per minute as they fall within their call plan "inclusive minutes".

    0844 numbers cost more to call than 01, 02 and 03 numbers as there is a "premium" built into the price of calling the 0844 number. Under new regulations that will come into force next year, this "premium" will be known as the "service charge" and will have to be declared next to the phone number.

    What NEG/Daisy also often fail to mention, but was confirmed in the debate
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120124/halltext/120124h0002.htm#12012442000001
    is that the ruling of "must not pay more" applies both to "landlines and mobiles" and that "bundled" or "free minutes" also apply.

    For all intents and purposes, 0844 numbers are banned within the NHS.

    The Department of Health must issue clear guidance in one document pulling all the snippets from the last few years into one place. The DoH must also stop the nonsense of "0844 numbers can be used if they don't cost more". 0844 numbers DO cost more. This can be verified in 10 minutes by looking at the call prices for Sky, Virgin, Tesco and others and for Vodafone, O2, Orange, 3, etc.

    It's not the case that if there's one phone tariff out there where 0844 numbers are cheaper than 01/02 numbers, then it's OK to use 0844 numbers. Instead, the ruling is that if there is anyone at all that would "pay more" to call 0844 numbers than to call 01 or 02 numbers on the same price plan, from the same device, at the same time of day, then 0844 numbers cannot be used.

    Orange Mobile Dolphin pay-as-you-go: 01/02: 25 pence - 0844: 40 pence.

    Vodafone Mobile Contract: 01/02: 0 pence - 0844: 35 pence.

    Orange Mobile Racoon pay-as-you-go: 01/02: 12 pence - 0844: 40 pence.

    BT's most popular landline call package: 01/02: 0 pence - 0844: 5 pence.

    The above call prices confirm that for people on the above tariffs, 0844 numbers "cost more" than 01 and 02 numbers and as "the arrangement as a whole" has to be taken into account, 0844 numbers are banned in the NHS (as are 0843 numbers and a whole range of other numbers).

    GPs should be using a telephone number that ensures that none of their patients "pay more" for calling their GP than when calling an 01 or 02 number on the same price plan, on the same device, at the same time of day. NEG/Daisy seem to want to believe that 0844 numbers are OK if "some" patients pay less for 0844 numbers than for 01 and 02 numbers. This is not the case.

    Any telephone number that costs someone, somewhere, more than an 01 or 02 number dialled on the same price plan, from the same device, at the same time of day, cannot be used by GPs irrespective of what everyone else on other price plans or on other devices might pay. As soon as one person calling their GP is "paying more" than to call an 01 or 02 number on the same price plan, from the same device, at the same time of day, the number that "costs more" cannot be used.

    The Secretary of State for Health has already confirmed in parliament that GPs should not be using 0844 numbers.

    It is clear that GPs should be using only numbers that begin 01, 02 or 03.



    The future:

    If Ofcom go ahead with proposals to make calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers free of charge from mobile phones as well as from landlines, GPs would then be allowed to use these number ranges too. At present 0800 and 0808 numbers "cost more" than 01 and 02 numbers when called from a mobile. 0800 and 0808 numbers are not included in bundled minutes from mobiles. 0800 and 0808 numbers called from mobiles also have a higher pence per minute rate than calling 01 and 02 numbers out-of-bundle from mobiles or calling 01 and 02 numbers on a pay-as-you-go tariff from mobiles.

    If all the telephone companies (all landline providers and all mobile providers) added 0842, 0843, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872 and 0873 numbers to the list of numbers that can be called in inclusive minutes (from all landlines and from all mobiles) AND they equalised the out-of-bundle price (from all landlines and from all mobiles) and the pay-as-you-go price (from all landlines and from all mobiles) to that of calling 01 and 02 numbers from the same device, on the same price plan, at the same time of day, then, and only then, could these ranges also be used by GPs. As this is clearly not the situation that prevails, 084 and 087 numbers cannot be used by GPs.


    The only number ranges that fit the current criteria of "not costing more than an 01 or 02 number" for all callers are 01, 02 and 03 numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 7th, 2012 at 11:24am
    A classic tale from five years ago:  http://deathboy.livejournal.com/999177.html

    (and the accompanying image http://i11.tinypic.com/6foq0ko.jpg with the details).

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by FordPrefect on Dec 8th, 2012 at 1:28pm
    Barnoldswick Medical Centre is now showing a geographic alternative to the 0844-4773461 number on its website.
    It is 01282-500929 and a quick check today gave me an automated reply confirming it is the correct number.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Dec 8th, 2012 at 2:40pm

    FordPrefect wrote on Dec 8th, 2012 at 1:28pm:
    Barnoldswick Medical Centre is now showing a geographic alternative to the 0844-4773461 number on its website.
    It is 01282-500929 and a quick check today gave me an automated reply confirming it is the correct number.

    Barnoldswick Medical Centre is a disgrace to our NHS.

    It provides a two-tier NHS service where patients who are prepared to pay a fee through the 0844 number can get a better service. Those who call the 01282 500929 number will hear the engaged tone if another patient is on the line.

    So if the caller to the 01282 number is on the line for five minutes, then for five minutes there is no way to contact the practice unless one is prepared to pay the 0844 charge.

    I called the 01282 number and it answered immediately with the IVR welcoming me to the medical centre. I then called it again from another phone, whilst the first call was still on, and got the engaged tone.

    I did this a number of times in succession and all times got through on the first call and got the engaged tone on the second.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 9th, 2012 at 4:32pm
    This is very much "estimated", but I'm sure it won't be all that far from the truth.


    The details below are based on a call rate of about 920 calls per surgery per week (1.1 million calls per week nationally). I have since seen evidence that many surgeries take close to 2500 calls per week - meaning that all of the figures below can be more than doubled.



    The 1200 surgeries using 0844 numbers apparently receive 1.1 million phone calls per week between them.

    It has been stated in several newspapers that a third of those calls are from mobile phones and that of the two thirds of calls from landlines only a third of those originate from BT customers.

    So, per week we have (rounded to nearest thousand)
    733 000 calls from landlines (of which 244 000 are from BT customers) and
    366 000 calls from mobiles.


    You hear of people queueing for a while, only for the call to be dropped without speaking to anyone. I don't know if those are counted towards the 1.1 million calls figure or not: either way, the customer still paid for the call and a connection fee also may have also applied.

    You hear of people queueing for 10 to 15 minutes or more and you hear about callers being placed on hold for 10 to 20 minutes while the receptionist is finding something out for the caller. You rarely hear about the people that queue for one minute and then have a simple uninterrupted three minute call but there must be lots of those too.

    It's unknown how many minutes all of these calls add up to, so we'll assume a 5 minute average for the total of queueing and speaking for each call. I suspect that the real figure is a bit, or quite a bit, higher.

    It is likely that a significant number of callers that intend to make a call that they know might take a long time, look at their options of calling from landlines or from mobiles and then choose the one that they think will be cheaper to call. It's also likely that a signicant number of people are not aware of the various call prices or have only one method of contact. It's also true that those at the poorer end of society might have a pay as you go mobile phone as their only calling option.



    For the 733 000 calls from landines, we'll assume 80% are on call packages with free calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. In this case, these customers would have paid 0 pence for their calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers but instead paid a fee to call the 0844 number as it is not a part of any bundled allowance. They would also have had to pay a connection fee per call.

    These landline customers with call packages account for 588 000 calls or 2 940 000 minutes per week.


    Customers with BT landlines and call packages account for 196 000 calls or 980 000 minutes per week (one third of the landline package total).

    Assuming 5 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers, they paid 4 900 000 pence (49 000 pounds) for their calls to 0844 numbers and this is 4 900 000 pence (49 000 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.

    They also paid connection charges (assume 8 pence per call) of 1 570 000 pence (15 700 pounds) for calling an 0844 number and this is 1 570 000 pence (15 700 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.


    Customers with non-BT landlines and call-packages account for 392 000 calls or 1 960 000 minutes per week (two thirds of the landline package total).

    Assuming 5 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers, they paid 9 800 000 pence (98 000 pounds) for their calls to 0844 numbers and this is 9 800 000 pence (98 000 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.

    They also paid connection charges (assume 10 pence per call) of 3 920 000 pence (39 200 pounds) for calling an 0844 number and this is 3 920 000 pence (39 200 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.


    For the 733 000 calls from landines, we'll assume the other 20% are those without call packages. These callers would have paid a "penalty charge" (what used to be the standard "per minute" charge, but now inflated) of perhaps 8 pence per minute for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers as their calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers are not part of any bundled allowances, but instead paid 5 pence per minute for their call to the 0844 number as it too is not part of any bundled allowance.

    These landline customers without call packages account for 147 000 calls or 735 000 minutes per week.

    Assuming 8 pence per minute for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers, their calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers would have cost 5 880 000 pence (58 800 pounds).

    Assuming 5 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers, they actually paid 3 680 000 pence (36 800 pounds) for their calls to 0844 numbers and this is 2 200 000 pence (22 000 pounds) less than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number on its inflated "non bundle deal" call rate.

    They also paid connection charges (assume 8 pence per call) of 1 180 000 pence (11 800 pounds) and this is a similar amount to the connection fee had an 01, 02 or 03 number been called.



    There would also be 366 000 calls from mobile phones per week and these would be split between contract deals and pay as you go deals. A figure has to picked, so a 40% contract and 60% pay as you go mix has been chosen for this example.


    (cont'd...)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 9th, 2012 at 4:37pm
    For the 366 000 calls made using mobile phones, we'll assume that 40% are on contract deals where calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers cost 0 pence per minute as long as there are inclusive minutes remaining. None of the mobile phone deals include 0844 numbers in call allowances and bundles so all mobile callers pay for every call made to an 0844 number. Call prices for 0844 numbers vary from 25 pence per minute to 41 pence per minute, with more tariffs charging at the higher end of that scale. Assuming an average of 33 pence per minute for this example (though the reality is probably a couple of pence per minute more).

    There were 146 000 calls from contract mobile phones accounting for 730 000 minutes.

    Assuming an average of 33 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers, they paid 24 100 000 pence (241 000 pounds) for their calls to 0844 numbers and this is 24 100 000 pence (241 000 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.


    For the 366 000 calls made using mobile phones, we'll assume that the other 60% are on pay as you go deals where these charge a per-minute rate to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Call prices for 01, 02 and 03 numbers vary from 5 pence per minute to 35 pence per minute. It's hard to choose an "average", but we'll pick 25 pence per minute for now. No mobile deals include 0844 numbers in call allowances and bundles so all mobile callers would pay for every call made to an 0844 number. Call prices for 0844 numbers vary from 25 pence per minute to 41 pence per minute, with more tariffs charging at the higher end of that scale. Assuming an average of 35 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers for this example.

    There were 220 000 calls from pay as you go mobile phones accounting for 1 100 000 minutes.

    Assuming an average of 25 pence per minute for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers, their calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers would have cost 27 500 000 pence (275 000 pounds).

    Assuming an average of 35 pence per minute for calls to 0844 numbers, they actually paid 38 500 000 pence (385 000 pounds) for their calls to 0844 numbers and this is 11 000 000 pence (110 000 pounds) more than if they had called an 01, 02 or 03 number.


    In reality, some pay as you go customers would have a number of inclusive minutes to 01, 02 and 03 numbers available to use each month, meaning that they actually paid 35 pence per minute more (rather than only 10 pence more) to call 0844 numbers than to call 01, 02 and 03 numbers. This is offset by the fact that some contract users would have run out of their inclusive minutes to call 01, 02 and 03 numbers by the time they wanted to call the GP, so would have been paying 25 to 35 pence per minute (25 to 35 pence per minute more than their 0 pence per minute inclusive rate) to call 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Neither factors have been included in the calculations here as the gut feeling is that the two amounts probably cancel each other out.


    There would also be some calls from public payphones. I'd guess that these account for less than 1% of callers, so I'm not going to include them here.



    So, per week... based on 1.1 million calls of 5 minutes duration (the total for queueing and talking)...

    588 000 landline callers with inclusive call packages pay a total of 20 200 000 pence (202 000 pounds) (34 pence per call) and that is 20 200 000 pence (202 000 pounds) (34 pence per call) over the odds for calling their GP.

    147 000 landline callers without inclusive call packages pay a total of 4 860 000 pence (48 600 pounds) (33 pence per call) and manage to save a total of 2 200 000 pence (22 000 pounds) between them (15 pence per call) compared to the inflated "non bundle deal" price for geographic calls.

    366 000 mobile callers pay a total of 62 600 000 pence (626 000 pounds) (171 pence per call) and that is 35 100 000 pence (351 000 pounds) (96 pence per call) over the odds for contacting their GP.


    In total, those 1.1 million calls end up costing users 876 600 000 pence (876 600 pounds) per week and that figure is 53 100 000 pence (531 000 pounds) over the odds per week compared to what it would have cost had the GP been using an 01, 02 or 03 number.

    This state of affairs has persisted for the last 5 years or more, with more than 1200 GPs using 0844 numbers (with some estimates as high as 1500 at the peak).

    The British public have been over-charged at least 13 806 000 000 pence (138 060 000 pounds) or 138 million quid over the last five years for calling their GP.


    Additionally, since NEG take a 5 pence per minute "service charge" they suck out 5 500 000 pence (55 000 pounds) per week and that makes them at least 1 430 000 000 pence (14 300 000 pounds) or 14 million quid over the last 5 years too. I have seen one document that inferred that NEG had made 27 million quid out of the 0844 subsidy, so my figures here may very well be under-estimated by 50%.


    The phone companies have also done very well out of this too: pocketing almost 124 million quid (less any termination fees) over the last 5 years.



    If every GP in the UK had been doing this, all of the figures above could be multipied by 5 or 6 or 7...

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 10th, 2012 at 12:16pm
    And from a different angle, based on the estimated 920 calls, each of five minutes duration, per week figure (1.1 million calls per week spread over 1200 surgeries), each surgery using 0844 numbers ends up inflating their patients bills by a total of about 1860 quid per month (on average), and NEG take out just under 200 quid of that as their "service charge". I'm guessing that 200 quid isn't enough to run the system, so most GPs will probably pay additional charges to NEG anyway.

    And I do suspect that both of the above figures are under-estimated by, maybe as much as, 50%. Beware that doubling the estimated five-minute length of calls will not see a straight doubling of the bill price: the price includes a connection fee for some types of call and that fee is, of course, only paid once per call.



    From another angle, patients phone bills are inflated by a total of 483 quid per 1000 five-minute phone calls.

    A surgery taking 10 000 calls (of five-minute average duration including queueing) per month on an 0844 number results in their patients collectively paying 4830 quid more to contact their GP compared to the price they would have paid if the GP had been using an 01, 02 or 03 number as required by the April 2010 GMS contract variation.

    Beware that doubling the estimated five-minute length of calls will not see a straight doubling of the bill price: the price includes a connection fee for some types of call and that fee is, of course, only paid once per call.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 10th, 2012 at 12:43pm
    Don't remember this one being mentioned before:

    Lindley Group Practice
    62 Acre Street, Lindley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD3 3DY
    0844 387 8342

    http://www.nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx?id=43294

    Quote:
    NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER

    In response to overwhelming comments in a patient survey regarding access to the surgery by telephone, we implemented a new telephone system on 2nd August 2012  (0844 387 8342). At peak times, there will be a queue system however, this will ensure your call is answered rather than getting an engaged tone.

    Worried about the cost?

    0844 numbers are often mistaken as more costly  when actually 0844 numbers can  be cheaper to call from a landline than geographic numbers beginning with 01 and 02.  Confusion such as this can obscure the reality that enhanced telephony and the use of an 0844 number by a GP practice is all about improving access to NHS services for patients.  For patients whose phone providers do charge excessively for calls to 0844 numbers, we also have a local geographic number available which is  01484 503349.

    For more information, there are leaflets available from reception, just ask.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 10th, 2012 at 1:00pm
    King Cross Surgery
    199 King Cross Road, Halifax, W Yorkshire, HX1 3LW
    0844 477 3371


    Quote:
    Telephone Charges
    Some of our patients are reacting again to another round of publicity regarding the use of 0844 lines by surgeries.

    We have chosen our telephone system to enable us to manage incoming calls and control our out-of-hours line diversion. It was also a cost effective way to upgrade am antiquated telephone system several years ago to a system that offered patient choice and call management.

    The formal Directtions to the NHS in December 2009 did not prohibit an organisation from using specific number ranges for the purpose of contacting NHS services. Organisations remain free to use non-geographical number ranges such as 0844 providing that patients are not charged more than the equivalent cost of calling a geographical number to do so. We have provided information to the PCT in line with requirements and they are satisfied with our system and the evidence/information we have provided to them.

    Calls to 0844 477 numbers from a BT landline are priced at BT G6 rate, which at the end of 2010 was 5.10p per minute. Recent price rises have increased this figure. Calls from a BT landline to our 0844 477 number are guaranteed less than the BT advertised rate. (BT Tariff Guide Prices for calls to Specialised Numbers from BT residential Fixed Lines - March 2011).

    Some providers, including mobiles, do not class these as local rate calls. They have chosen to class such calls in a higher tariff bracket. Some provider packages, with 'favourite' options do not accept these numbers as favourites - this has been their decision, not ours.

    Our recent GP-Patient Survey results showed that patients found our telephone service easy to use and the majority were happy with it - these results can be viewed at www.gp-patient.co.uk.

        Our system does not make charges of '40p and over' per minute.
        We are not making profit from our callers.
        Our system is set to restrict the number of callers who can be kept 'on hold' and there is a limit to the number of minutes patients can stay 'on hold' - our limit is 10 - the average incoming call lasts 50 seconds; callers can choose not to hold but ring back.
        The maximum period our system will keep a caller on hold is 5 minutes. Other companies and agencies have much longer queues and no restriction on the time kept on hold. We consciously selected these limits as reasonable and to avoid exploitation of our callers.
        We cannot alter the rates of calls from mobile networks.
        We too are affected by the high rates charged to call mobile phones, including to patients, and some network providers.
        We take around 10,250 telephone calls per calendar month and need a system that allows us to manage and direct our calls.
        We transfer our system to ensure 24 hour answering every evening, every morning, bank holidays and training days - the system is programmed to do this accurately and consistently.

    We understand that the commercial world of telecommunications makes it impossible for all parties to be totally satisfied with the packages on offer and the impact of these on others. However, we believe that if patients work with us they can minimise the cost of calling the surgery. We believe that our system offers safety in telephone transfers for evenings, weekends, bank holidays and training days and transfers precisely at the correct cut off times. We believe that our system gives us the chance to monitor our workload and direct staff to the busiest parts of the weeks so minimising the length of time to answer all the incoming calls we receive.

    Last updated on 22 June 2011.


    Wow! This is the most despicable "justification" of the use of 0844 numbers that I have ever seen. This one should go to court for false misrepentation.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 10th, 2012 at 1:21pm
    Wilmslow Health Centre
    Chapel Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5HX
    08432 909 209 (0843 290 9209)


    Quote:
    New automated telephone booking system

    Wilmslow Health Centre has just launched a new automated telephone booking system which allows patients to book, cancel or rearrange an appointment on the phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

    Our new telephone number is 08432-909-209

    Patients can already book online at www.wilmslowhealthcentre.com

    Last updated on 20 April 2012.


    Sneaky!  It's an 0843 number - and incorrectly formatted, possibly hoping that you won't notice.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by John Buchanan on Dec 10th, 2012 at 6:53pm
    Western Road Medical Centre, Romford, have removed their 0844 477 2430 number from their web site which is proudly proclaiming that they have a new telephone number.

    This is the correct geographical number as shown in your main database.

    Chalk one up for the patients!

    John

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 11th, 2012 at 10:31am
    Bollington Medical Centre
    The Waterhouse, Bollington, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 5JH
    08443 87 84 81 (0844 387 8481)

    http://www.bollingtonmedicalcentre.co.uk/practice-policies.aspx


    Quote:
    <preamble snipped>

    Inevitably we will receive some queries regarding the cost of phoning an 0844 number and we would like to reassure our patients that we have confirmed with our new network provider that when dialling from a fixed line our patients will not be charged more than the equivalent cost of calling a geographic number. It is the BT standard-plan that is the only regulated tariff used by OFFCOM, and it is acceptable industry practice to use this tariff as the only workable comparator for assessing the comparative costs of calls.

    There are a vast number of both land line and mobile network providers and each network provider will offer a variety of packages to meet customer’s individual needs.  For this reason it is not possible to comment on the individual cost for patients phoning both the existing or new surgery number.  Costs from mobiles may be more expensive so please check with your telephone service provider.  If a patient has any concerns regarding the cost of their call to the surgery we would recommend that they speak to their network provider directly as they will be able to advise on the best tariff.      

    The new phone number is now live and we look forward to seeing the improvements in telephone access for all our patients.


    Wow. Surgery openly admits to complying with the regulations for only a tiny minority of patients while overcharging the rest.

    I can't believe they're still peddling this old rubbish from years ago.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Dec 15th, 2012 at 7:48am
    Another recent (19 November) adopter of Surgery Line on a 0844 number has just come to light:

    Belmont Hill Surgery - 36 Belmont Hill, Lewisham, London, SE13 5AY - 0844 387 8357

    Rather than attempting to make any serious comment to its patients, the practice has simply dumped the text from some sales literature onto its website - see http://belmonthillsurgery.co.uk/articles/title/new-phone-number.html. A copy of this page has been retained for future reference.

    I cannot believe that any responsible person could take the absurd (and demonstrably false) claims seriously.

    If anyone wishes to go through the detail of this material, there is another thread dedicated to this purpose.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Dec 30th, 2012 at 3:34am
    Hmm.  The surgery is on Twitter:  @belmonthillgp  https://twitter.com/belmonthillgp

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Dec 31st, 2012 at 6:28pm

    catj wrote on Dec 30th, 2012 at 3:34am:
    Hmm.  The surgery is on Twitter:  @belmonthillgp  https://twitter.com/belmonthillgp


    Latest Tweet encourages patients to get involved in the Patient Participation Group, perhaps anyone who visits or uses this site, may be interested to join and to work with the surgery to scrap it's 0844 number?

    Best to work on the inside if you can.

    :)

    ** edited to add a W to Tweet **  ;D

    Title: Two-tier NHS
    Post by Dave on Jan 9th, 2013 at 1:59pm
    Derby Road Group Practice has recently moved to providing a two-tier NHS service where callers who pay the 0844 Service Charge get a better service:


    Quote:
    New landline:

    As from the 1st of January 2013 there is a new landline number attached to the Practice, it does not have all the automated functions of the current 0844.  Patients are advised to use whichever contact number they prefer either:      

    0844 815 1802

    or

    023 92009265      

    Thank you

    Title: Re: Two-tier NHS.
    Post by catj on Jan 9th, 2013 at 2:53pm
    Table of features for the new two-tier NHS...

    01/02 without call features Revenue-share 0843/0844
    Caller has BT landline Free in inclusive minutes. 5 p/min
    Caller has non-BT landline Free in inclusive minutes. 5 to 10 p/min
    Caller has contract mobile Free in inclusive minutes. 25 to 41 p/min
    Caller has pay-as-you-go mobile 20 to 35 p/min (less with bolt-on). 25 to 45 p/min
    Access May have to redial many times until surgery has no queue. Those willing to "pay more" for access get into the queue immediately.
    Billing Pay nothing to hear "engaged" tone. Pay nothing to redial. Pay (or use inclusive minutes) only while speaking to someone and while they place you on hold. Pay to hear menu options. Pay while held in the queue. Pay while speaking. Pay while on hold.
    Impact Caller may be forced to redial many times. Caller forced to pay for "premium rate" number.
    Revenue earned by GP Nothing. 4 p/min while caller listens to options, queues, speaks and is on-hold.

    An 03 number would allow queueing, but the caller would pay the same rates as calling 01 and 02 numbers.

    It's also possible to have queueing and other call features on 01 and 02 numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jan 9th, 2013 at 3:47pm
    My initial reaction to this development was fine, until I discussed it with SCV a few weeks ago.

    If the geo number is also getting answered at the same time that is ok, but if it is just allowed to ring until the 0844 calls are answered then it is useless and just a con. Worse if it is engaged because somehow it is merged with the 0844 number and will be engaged until all those in the queue are answered.

    Anyone have any idea how these apparently parallel numbers will work?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Jan 9th, 2013 at 4:28pm
    0844 numbers often map to a standard 01 or 02 number. The 0844 software holds, stacks and queue calls, until the 01 or 02 number is free and then puts them through. Whenever the line to the surgery is taking a call, dialling the geographic number will signal as engaged.

    One GP, I can't remember which, said that the geographic number will be engaged whenever they are in a call, whether the caller they are speaking to dialled the 01/02 or the 084 number. Since the queueing system puts the next call through as soon as the previous call ends, the implication is that the 01 or 02 number will "ring" only when there is not a call in progress AND there is no-one in the 0844 queue.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jan 9th, 2013 at 4:50pm
    If you are right catj then that is unacceptable and a true two tier system. The geo number callers will always have to wait for all the 0844 calls to be dealt with (even if they called many minutes later as long as a queue still exists) and therefore probably not get an appointment.

    I can see this as the next con that the PCTs accept as meeting the DofH requirements

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jan 10th, 2013 at 12:10am
    You are dead correct catj on your explaination. So many people still dont understand what is accepted 'On Plan' BT Anytime etc. and what is Off Plan, I found 2 people only yesterday.

    I have complained to my PCT about their 'Nil Action' in the past, on which they said they would now email 0844 GPs and ask them to explain their Compliance and that now they have said that they will 'Recommend ' this '2 Tier System ' as Compliiance with the GMS Contract. 

    The PCT stated that it doesnt say in the 'Variation' that the PCT has to be 'satisfied' and that only the GP has to be 'Satisfied' in other words 'Nothing' will change as before.

    The PCT also stated that they would be escalating it to the National Commissioning Board as it is a National Issue.  Too Right so will I.

    They also ended with 'If you are not satisfied with our reply you may wish to contact Health Ombudsman'  WHICH I AM,
    with advice from SCV. My PCT will taking their Crxp Policy to my local CCG after April so I will still be on their Case.

    If we could get a few more people to follow this Route - Complain to your local PCT - then advance to Health Ombudsman it is another way to get GPs 0844 noticed Nationally not just my Local Area.

    I will post the Link if I can find it, to the Kent Messenger Articles from Oct. last year.

    http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/uploads/1/1/4/5/11456053/more_from_kent.pdf#page=3

    Found another Link - hope this works, looks promising  8-)
    SCV will tell you I am still rubbish with most Links  :-[

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jan 10th, 2013 at 1:30am

    Keith wrote on Jan 9th, 2013 at 3:47pm:
    Anyone have any idea how these apparently parallel numbers will work?

    A credible explanation was offered to me by a representative of a well known provider of Surgery telephone systems recently.

    This is found in a briefing on the topic of the Two Tier NHS

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jan 10th, 2013 at 12:54pm
    As I said in my previous post Thanks catj for the explanation of Costs.

    Could I cheekily make a suggestion regarding your Costs table. At the top of the column heading Revenue-share you have only put 084 could you please add the extra 4 to save confusion by the General Public very many of which are still confused about the difference between 0844 and 0845

    My ulterior motive for this suggestion is because I have used several of your tables to show others not as as knowledgable as most on this Forum. 

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by catj on Jan 10th, 2013 at 1:57pm
    That request is not at all cheeky. It's a really good point.

    I originally had "0844" there, then decided to change it as it also applies to 0843.

    However, I lost the plot by putting "084" as the table does not quite apply to 0845.

    0845 has a revenue share of about 2 p/min.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:43pm
    Thanks catj  ;D ;D 8-)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jan 12th, 2013 at 11:00pm
    According to a posting made on one of the Which? Conversations, The Wolds Practice has just changed over to a g11 0844 number.

    Title: Daily Star run with article about GPs use of 0844.
    Post by bigjohn on Feb 17th, 2013 at 2:12am
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/299116/Patients-forced-to-ring-pricey-premium-rate-lines/

    Title: Re: Daily Star run with article about GPs use of 0844.
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Feb 17th, 2013 at 3:12am

    bigjohn wrote on Feb 17th, 2013 at 2:12am:
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/299116/Patients-forced-to-ring-pricey-premium-rate-lines/

    A little more information in our blogging - Rip-off GPs: Daily Star targets Hunt, Cameron, Clegg and Gove

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Feb 20th, 2013 at 1:15pm
    Hi catj

    You have a PM  ;D ;D

    Title: Re: Surgeries saying no to 0844!
    Post by sherbert on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:31am
    http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/health/calls-to-gps-cost-up-to-20p-a-min-1-4878137

    Published on Saturday 9 March 2013 08:00

    Doctors surgeries in Horsham are still only offering 0844 contact numbers despite Department of Health guidance against the use of high rate numbers.

    Outside Horsham, surgeries use geographical numbers, but Holbrook Surgery, Park Surgery and Riverside Surgery still have 0844 numbers even though the guidelines were brought in two years ago. They are not premium rate, but are more expensive to call from mobiles and non-BT landlines.

    Barry Lynch a patient of Riverside surgery said his mobile operator charged him 20p a minute for a call his GP recently.

    Park Surgery, featured in the County Times on this subject last year, now provides an 01403 number alongside its 0844 number.

    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said: “No practice in Sussex uses a premium rate number. However, 084 numbers can cost more to call than other landlines.

    “The exact cost depends on your individual phone package. In the last few years, across the country, many practices bought 084 numbers as they can help with directing callers to the right person. Practices are now required to check whether a person calling their practice pays more than the cost of a call to an 01 number - a geographical telephone number. If that is the case then the practice must take action.

    “Terminating 084 numbers before the end of the contract can incur heavy fees - in order to make the best use of public money some GP practices have taken actions such as offering an 01 number alongside the 084 number or calling patients back. This is in line with national requirements.”

    “We take our responsibility on this matter very seriously and continue to work with GP practices to ensure there are no barriers to patients contacting their GP practice.”

    The County Times asked Holbrook and Riverside Surgeries for comment, but did not receive a reply.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:42am

    sherbert wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:31am:
    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said: “No practice in Sussex uses a premium rate number. However, 084 numbers can cost more to call than other landlines.

    That is correct, 0844 numbers are not Premium Rate Services (PRS). Each 0844 number carries a premium, soon to be openly declared and referred to as a Service Charge.



    sherbert wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:31am:
    “Terminating 084 numbers before the end of the contract can incur heavy fees - in order to make the best use of public money some GP practices have taken actions such as offering an 01 number alongside the 084 number or calling patients back. This is in line with national requirements.”

    Our NHS is supposed to be "free at the point of need" and funded from "public money". It is therefore not for providers to  charge patients, as they are doing.

    The PCT now advocates a two-tier NHS, which it claims is in line with "national requirements".

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Mar 12th, 2013 at 6:19pm
    See the full fair telecoms campaign response to the NHS Sussex statement -
    http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/1/post/2013/03/response-to-statement-from-nhs-sussex.html

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 2nd, 2013 at 11:42am
    People may be interested in the following debate re Lightwater Surgery in Surrey.

    Go to http://wilsonrichard.com 21 January article (but you can get there quickly by using the recent postings links).

    There are 46 posts, but the most recent posts by 'Stuart' are very very good. He knows his stuff. This is in contrast to the surgery. For example look at the link in the post made on 26 March.

    You might also like to read the article in http://www.windleshamlabour.org.uk by selecting Lightwater and then New Doctors Group in Surrey Heath. Note 2 at the bottom of the page makes very interesting reading. Now go to leftoflightwater.wordpress.com on 7 February.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 10:46am

    Dave wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:42am:
    Each 0844 number carries a premium, soon to be openly declared and referred to as a Service Charge.

    I don't understand this statement.   For anyone with a package, landline or mobile, the premium incurred when calling an 084/7 number also costs the "access charge" and the connection charge.   Can you explain please Dave?


    ~ Edited by Dave: Tags on quote box corrected

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 11:36am

    loddon wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 10:46am:

    Dave wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:42am:
    Each 0844 number carries a premium, soon to be openly declared and referred to as a Service Charge.

    I don't understand this statement.   For anyone with a package, landline or mobile, the premium incurred when calling an 084/7 number also costs the "access charge" and the connection charge.   Can you explain please Dave?

    I shall give the full context of the sentence, which you quoted on its own:


    Dave wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:42am:

    sherbert wrote on Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:31am:
    A spokesman for NHS Sussex said: “No practice in Sussex uses a premium rate number. However, 084 numbers can cost more to call than other landlines.

    That is correct, 0844 numbers are not Premium Rate Services (PRS). Each 0844 number carries a premium, soon to be openly declared and referred to as a Service Charge.

    My first sentence said that 0844 numbers are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), a term defined in statute. However, they do carry a premium to the benefit of the user, just as with PRS numbers. This premium will soon be known as the Service Charge, and it will have to be declared.

    Nowhere in my reply did I say that there will be no Access Charge "premium" for anyone with a landline or mobile package.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 1:41pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 10:46am:
    Can you explain please …

    There are many circumstances under which a premium charge may be incurred when using the telephone, e.g. exceeding a limited bundled allowance, making a Weekday call under the terms of a Weekend only Call Plan. Premiums are also incurred when calling numbers not covered by a Call Plan or bundle (e.g. mobiles from a landline).

    That referred to by Dave was the premium that is invariably incurred when calling a 0844 number because of the additional Termination Fee paid on to the benefit of the person called. This is always in place, regardless of other possible premiums imposed by the telephone company. Under the forthcoming Ofcom regulations this will have to be declared, it will be known as the Service Charge.


    The premium Access Charge which may be incurred is consequential on there being a Service Charge. Many campaigners stress the fact that the Service Charge will have to be declared in the hope that those who are unable to justify imposing a charge for the call, by their choice of number that includes a Service Charge, will feel compelled to relieve callers of all premiums other than those which may be incurred in calling a geographic rate number. This is the essence of SayNoTo0870. As numbers that include a Service Charge will continue to be permitted, pressure must be applied to discourage their use.

    It is for this reason that great emphasis is placed on the Service Charge, which will remain largely unchanged as we move into the "Unbundled Tariff" regime. Simplification, transparency and removal of the special regulation of BT will cause the "Access Charge" to be very different under the new regime to what it is at present. For now, it is simply defined as being the remainder of the total call cost after the Service Charge has been removed. In some cases this makes it negative! We have not yet had any clear indications of what individual telephone companies will be doing with it in future. 


    Some argue that the "Access Charge" and the rate for calling geographic numbers should be equalised, so that the "Service Charge" represents the only premium over the cost of calling a geographic number in all cases. The fair telecoms campaign takes the view that those who choose not to call numbers with "Service Charges" should not be compelled to subsidise such calls by paying the same rate to the originating telephone company. Equally, we do not believe that Access Charges should be pegged to "penalty charges" for Out of Plan calls to geographic rate numbers.

    We foresee many changes with landline package arrangements in the medium term, most notably the inclusion of unlimited calls to mobiles. We are content to wait to see what the market delivers and will press Ofcom to intervene should any clear unfairness be seen. The issue of what must and what may be included in bundles will be addressed at length in the forthcoming Ofcom consultation on Simplifying Non-Geographic Numbers.

    The imperative issue is that the Access Charge be kept simple, so that the greatest possible number of callers will know what it is at the time when they consider making a call on which it will be incurred.


    The connection charge (or "call setup fee"), on calls that are otherwise charged by duration,  has an uncertain future. We wait to see if Ofcom will be proceeding with its intention to abolish it. If it remains, it will become part of the "Access Charge", exclusively to the benefit of the call originating telephone company. At present, it could be said to be part of the Service Charge, however with a simpler future in prospect, due to be outlined shortly, it may be best not to go too deep into this at this time.



    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 1:58pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 11:36am:
    My first sentence said that 0844 numbers are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), a term defined in statute. However, they do carry a premium to the benefit of the user, just as with PRS numbers. This premium will soon be known as the Service Charge, and it will have to be declared.


    Dave, you say "This premium will soon be known as the Service Charge, and it will have to be declared" but I feel that some people may misunderstand this assertion and take it that the two are directly equivalent.    My contention is that the "service charge" is only a part of the premium, and usually the smaller part, whereas the "access charge" is a component of the "premium" and can cost as much as 20 times more than the "service charge".   So the cost of the "access charge" is likely to be the much more important part of the total cost of 084/7 numbers depending on exactly what regulations Ofcom are going to propose.

    If you were to clarify and say that the "service charge" will be a part of the additional cost, the "premium", incurred when calling an 084/7 number and that the total premium will comprise the "access charge" added to the "service charge" then I will be happy to agree.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 2:36pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 1:58pm:
    … the total premium will comprise the "access charge" added to the "service charge" …


    In a case where the "premium" is over a cost of zero, then this is true. The Access Charge plus the Service Charge is the total "unbundled" cost of the call. Whilst the overwhelming majority of calls to geographic numbers incur no call charge, it cannot be said that none do. The word "premium" loses something of its meaning when set against zero, so the context assumed by the suggested statement serves to make it pointless in isolation.

    As stated above, we must also take care to distinguish between the present and the future when it comes to Access Charges. Service Charges will not change that much under the new regime, other than being brought out into the open, however Access Charges will undergo something of a revolution.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 3:50pm
    Thank you SCV for agreeing with me.   I am however, puzzled when you say "The word "premium" loses something of its meaning when set against zero .... " -- why?   :-? :-/

    My dictionary says that premium means "a sum added to ordinary charges" and "above the usual price".   If the usual price is zero (because our geo calls have been prepaid within our package) are not the premium priced 084/7 calls even more prominent and the "premium" even more noticeable?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:01pm
    The point is that for the minority who pay for geographic rate calls, where the "ordinary charge" or "usual price" is not zero, the suggested statement is untrue.

    In general terms, a charge or price of zero would be seen as an exceptional case.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:48pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 1:58pm:

    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 11:36am:
    My first sentence said that 0844 numbers are not Premium Rate Services (PRS), a term defined in statute. However, they do carry a premium to the benefit of the user, just as with PRS numbers. This premium will soon be known as the Service Charge, and it will have to be declared.

    Dave, you say "This premium will soon be known as the Service Charge, and it will have to be declared" but I feel that some people may misunderstand this assertion and take it that the two are directly equivalent.    My contention is that the "service charge" is only a part of the premium, and usually the smaller part, whereas the "access charge" is a component of the "premium" and can cost as much as 20 times more than the "service charge".   So the cost of the "access charge" is likely to be the much more important part of the total cost of 084/7 numbers depending on exactly what regulations Ofcom are going to propose.

    If you were to clarify and say that the "service charge" will be a part of the additional cost, the "premium", incurred when calling an 084/7 number and that the total premium will comprise the "access charge" added to the "service charge" then I will be happy to agree.

    You are referring to the "premium" (above that of a geographic call), which generally applies to the retail call price. Its magnitude on any one call is dependent on the originating operator.

    I am referring to the premium attached to the termination payment which applies constantly, irrespective of retail call price. It is imperative that this be set apart (unbundled) from the Access Charge. Whether the Access Charge represents a "premium" depends on any individual caller's service offering.

    My statement should not be taken out of context. I am asserting that there is a "premium" carried with 084 numbers (to the benefit of number users), albeit lower than with PRS. The fact that a 084 service is not a "Premium Rate Service" does not mean that there is no "premium" passed. My wording in no way precludes the presence of a second "premium", which is the Access Charge.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 4th, 2013 at 11:56am
    Another fantastic post by Stuart (do you post here Stuart) on the  http://wilsonrichard.com site re the Lightwater Surgery in Surrey.

    Also remiss of me to not congratulate Richard Wilson on his campaign.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 6th, 2013 at 7:08am

    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:48pm:
    You are referring to the "premium" (above that of a geographic call), which generally applies to the retail call price.


    Yes, and that is what most people will understand by the term "premium".   For most people, and most are using a package, that premium is the total cost of the 084/7 call because their normal marginal cost is zero because their geo calls are prepaid.


    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:48pm:
      I am referring to the premium attached to the termination payment  ...  .
      Yes, and most people will not have a clue what you are talking about. 

    I think this discussion hinges on the point that terms need to be defined carefully and we should not assume that readers are aware of hidden items like termination charges.

    P.S.  I cannot seem to get these goddam "quotes" to work.   :-[

    ~ Edited by Dave: Tags on quote boxes corrected

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 6th, 2013 at 7:15am

    Keith wrote on Apr 4th, 2013 at 11:56am:
    Another fantastic post by Stuart (do you post here Stuart) on the  http://wilsonrichard.com site re the Lightwater Surgery in Surrey.


    Is this post appropriate??   I have looked at this link and can find only a passing reference to a GPs 0844 number, so what is so "fantastic" about it?   It seems to me you are trying to push the electioneering stance of a political candidate rather than discuss topics relevant to this Forum.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 6th, 2013 at 7:23am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:01pm:
    The point is that for the minority who pay for geographic rate calls, where the "ordinary charge" or "usual price" is not zero, the suggested statement is untrue.


    And for the vast majority the "usual price" IS zero.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 6th, 2013 at 10:14am
    Lodden,

    If you look at my history on this site you would see I would never do what you are suggesting. I have posted since 2005 and have never made a political point in any post.

    I think you must have missed the details. There is a long article followed by 49 posts. the final ones by Stuart are fantastic. He knows his stuff and has gone into comprehensive detail.

    Stuart who has made the posts I refer to also makes no political points either.

    FYI I am a member of a political party and it is NOT the one promoted by this site, so I would hardly be pushing it for electioneering purposes. I would be linking to it whether it be Con/Lab/LD or whatever because of 0844 issue being discussed and for no other reason.

    Go to  http://wilsonrichard.com and go down to latest comments on the right and click on any of the 0844 references to see the comments to the 21 January article. I think you must have missed them.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 6th, 2013 at 10:36am
    I have just noted that I also said:

    "Also remiss of me to not congratulate Richard Wilson on his campaign."

    I meant his 0844 campaign NOT his political ambitions.

    FYI (as SCV will testify) Richard has been active in the campaign recently, not least also also contributing on the radio.

    I repeat I DO NOT SUPPORT Richard Wilson's political views. I would not have introduced politics to this site, but having been accused of doing so for the record I belong to a different political party (again which SCV can confirm).

    I am somewhat taken back by the accusation. In the fight against 0844 I don't care two hoots what, if any, what ones political views are.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 6th, 2013 at 3:03pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 6th, 2013 at 7:08am:

    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:48pm:
    You are referring to the "premium" (above that of a geographic call), which generally applies to the retail call price.


    Yes, and that is what most people will understand by the term "premium".   For most people, and most are using a package, that premium is the total cost of the 084/7 call because their normal marginal cost is zero because their geo calls are prepaid.

    In the plural market that exists today, it is not possible to relate to one standard tariff or rate. The amount any individual pays is down to his or her chosen call provider, and this includes any positive or negative differential between different types of call. For this reason I did not refer to "premium" with reference to retail call charges.

    Undoubtedly, use of the terms Access Charge and Service Charge will make it much clearer where any premium on the total retail call price is being incurred. Each could be said to be "premiums" in their own right; I was referring to the latter.



    loddon wrote on Apr 6th, 2013 at 7:08am:

    Dave wrote on Apr 3rd, 2013 at 5:48pm:
      I am referring to the premium attached to the termination payment  ...  .
      Yes, and most people will not have a clue what you are talking about. 

    I think this discussion hinges on the point that terms need to be defined carefully and we should not assume that readers are aware of hidden items like termination charges.

    I will not avoid discussing a particular subject because of fear that some readers may not have understanding of the topic.

    If we avoided speaking about something for which potential readers (or listeners) may not have understanding of, then not a lot would get said! If we had to explain everything in great depth then such communications aren't likely to be received. Both these could apply in any domain.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 6th, 2013 at 4:11pm
    This discussion has become unnecessarily personal and aggressive in its tone. This is a public forum, which I do not see as being a suitable place for many of the opinions stated above to be aired. It is however for each member to determine what they wish to see placed in the public domain, subject to the forum rules.

    The 12 most recent postings have been essentially political in nature, discussing how best to present campaigning arguments and their association with wider political ideals. They have also featured many uses of names and personal pronouns.

    I am ready to defend my personal position and attest to the positions I understand to be held by others, however I am not happy at being obliged to do so in public. We are however where we are, unable to direct a wider readership to this forum for briefing on relevant campaigning issues.


    Regarding reply #521. Clearly many are unaware of the fact that the Service Charge, which will be brought into the open, is simply the retail cost of the premium attached to the termination payment. Those who request further explanation on this point, and are dissatisfied by confirmation that there are indeed other premium charges which are incurred, may find that their existing understanding of the issues is tested and enhanced as the explanation develops.

    Regarding reply #522. It would have been better if the link quoted there had been to the comment by Stuart from which one could look outwards to the wider context, rather than the other way around. The "fantastic post" remark was clearly referring to this comment, however it was left open for the casual reader to misunderstand.

    On the disputed point which I made. I believe that some generally worded statements may be considered valid because they are true for a majority, whereas other more specifically worded statements cannot rest on that means of acquiring validity. It is normally best to apply suitable qualification, if that is possible without effectively destroying the point one is making. Often the determination comes down to a political judgement regarding the context of the publication of the statement. On this point, and in the context of this forum, I do not think it appropriate to ignore the cases of those with PAYG arrangements and those who breach the terms of their Call Plans and bundles when discussing the "unbundled tariff".


    If the intention was to engage in discussion of the rules regarding "Access Charges", in advance of the imminent publication of the Ofcom proposals, this could have been done more directly - probably best in another thread. Citing comments and statements that are seen to overlook the possibility that the Access Charge will not, in practice, be equated with the charge for a call to geographic number, as it most certainly is not at present, would be an ideal way of starting such a discussion.


    It is likely that when the regulations to apply the "unbundled tariff" are submitted to consultation they will face opposition from those who wish to retain the present opacity. The fair telecoms campaign will be keen to ensure the maximum possible public support for the principle of transparency, notwithstanding inevitable quibbles over the detail of the proposals. We hope that clearly expressed public support for the proposals will make it more difficult for those who may wish to oppose them. Yes - that is politics - pure and simple. We do not wish to have to fight an alliance of those who wish for far more radical steps with those who wish to retain the status quo.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 6th, 2013 at 5:42pm
    Thanks for that SCV.

    My motives for making the 2nd reference to the web site I highlighted was generated by the fact that the earlier one had caused an increase in discussion locally regarding this surgeries use of 0844 numbers.

    I was also very impressed by Stuart's posts, some 12 very lengthy and knowledgeable posts (many several pages long) that anyone here would be proud of. The total number of posts is currently 49 (so hardly a 'passing reference to 0844' as suggested, I assume by mistake)

    I was also aware that I was congratulating Stuart, but not Richard who had started this in the first place on his blog. It would seem churlish of me not to congratulate him just because this was on a political web site, so I was upset by the accusation that I was promoting a political campaign. Something which I wasn't doing and bizarrely I don't even actually share the political views of this particular blog so it would be very odd for me to promote it.

    In my earlier post 511 I also made some references to particular locations in two other sites without explaining why. That was deliberate. If you go to them you will see why and although I'm probably being over cautious I think that was prudent to do so.

    I would like to reiterate again I was making people aware of a very positive active campaign and some very good posts. I have no interest in the political campaign of Richard Wilson. I don't know him, I don't live in the area in which he lives and I don't share his political views.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Apr 10th, 2013 at 11:50am
    Cheers for the call Loddon. Much appreciated.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm
    Three weeks after the NHS in England was reorganisaed, with PCT Clusters being replaced by CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups), a group of surgeries in Warrington are about to switch to using a 0844 number.

    Chapelford Health & Wellbeing will change its phone number on Monday 22nd April. It has put together a two-page leaflet on the change.

    It states “The cost of calling the practice from a LANDLINE once the 0844 number is in place will be no greater than the cost of any normal local call for which you are currently being charged.

    “The cost of calling the practice from a MOBILE however will carry with it an extra cost. We therefore advise you to use your landline for the purpose of making calls to the practice in order to secure an appointment, enquire for test results or order your prescription.”


    The advice not to use a mobile is of little use to those in households which do not have a landline - 15% of the UK. Landline using patients who feel that have been charged for normal local calls by paying their subscription to a Call Plan (all of which exclude 0844 calls) may be surprised to find that perhaps the only charged calls on their phone bill are those to the practice.

    The reference to relative call costs is to the “penalty charge” imposed on landline users who (abnormally) call local numbers outside the terms of their chosen Call Plan. Landline call providers (including BT and Virgin Media) confirm that the overwhelming majority of calls to geographic numbers are made without charge. The (marginal) cost of a “normal” local call is therefore zero.


    The GMS Contract has been revised. The Clause that is relevant here used to be 29B, but is now 7.4.

    [edit]Corrected clause number to 7.4.[/edit]

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Apr 19th, 2013 at 1:52pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:
    It states “The cost of calling the practice from a LANDLINE once the 0844 number is in place will be no greater than the cost of any normal local call for which you are currently being charged.

    That bit, with the highlighted proviso, is probably true for BT lines at least. However, this bit is not for the majority and should be challenged by the patients:

    "Please remember we are making these changes because you said we needed to improve your telephone access. That is exactly what we are doing. It has increased our costs in regard to installation and maintenance but it will not increase your costs unless you choose to use your mobile phone."

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 19th, 2013 at 2:01pm

    kasg wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 1:52pm:

    Dave wrote on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:
    It states “The cost of calling the practice from a LANDLINE once the 0844 number is in place will be no greater than the cost of any normal local call for which you are currently being charged.

    That bit, with the highlighted proviso, is probably true for BT lines at least. …

    BT has said that its Unlimited Anytime Calling Plan is its most popular. All patients subscribed to it will pay more.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Apr 19th, 2013 at 2:14pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 2:01pm:

    kasg wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 1:52pm:

    Dave wrote on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:
    It states “The cost of calling the practice from a LANDLINE once the 0844 number is in place will be no greater than the cost of any normal local call for which you are currently being charged.

    That bit, with the highlighted proviso, is probably true for BT lines at least. …

    BT has said that its Unlimited Anytime Calling Plan is its most popular. All patients subscribed to it will pay more.

    Yes, that was exactly my point. It is only the highlighted part that makes the statement true, but they effectively contradict it in the other part I quoted.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 19th, 2013 at 3:54pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:
    The GMS Contract has been revised. The Clause that is relevant here used to be 29B, but is now 7.14.


    I think the Clause is 7.4 --- and sub-paragraphs 7.4.1 to 7.4.6.   Perhaps this note should also be put on the other threads referring to this GPs contract ?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 19th, 2013 at 4:03pm

    kasg wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 2:14pm:
    … Yes, that was exactly my point. It is only the highlighted part that makes the statement true, but they effectively contradict it in the other part I quoted.

    See the fair telecoms campaign news release, which addresses the points discussed above.

    Those who may wish to follow all news from the fair telecoms campaign can view our feed and arrange to get updates at http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/news-feed.html.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 19th, 2013 at 4:40pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 3:54pm:
    … I think the Clause is 7.4 --- and sub-paragraphs 7.4.1 to 7.4.6.   Perhaps this note should also be put on the other threads referring to this GPs contract ?


    That is correct (as may be seen by following the correctly formed link). The prohibition on new or renewed arrangements is in 7.4.1.

    Action for breach of contract with effect from 1 April 2013 would have to be made with reference to the current contract (which retains the same terms, although re-numbered) and be taken by NHS England, which has inherited this duty from the PCTs, which are now abolished.

    Local responsibility for enforcement rests with the Primary Care Commissioning Group of each of the 27 Local Area Teams covering England. These teams are a consolidation of the 50 PCT Clusters, which were a consolidation of 143 PCTs. Unlike PCTs, which were legally autonomous - i.e. subject only to Guidance on how to interpret the terms of the standard contract, LATs are under direction from a central team setting policy for all of England. When this team has had a chance to get up and running and on top of this issue we expect to see developments.


    Older postings referring to the contract for previous years must remain correct as they stand. One problem is that the published earlier versions of the contract have been archived and so are not immediately accessible.

    Please get in touch (by PM or via fairtelecoms.org.uk) for advice on archived documents and on coordinated representations on policy issues.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 19th, 2013 at 7:44pm
    Source: Telegraph & Argus

    Doctors still charging patients premium rates to phone surgeries


    Quote:
    The practice manager of one of those surgeries, Ashwell Medical Centre in Manningham, admitted the situation was “unpalatable” but he said it was locked into a contract of more than five years with its telephone system provider and would have to pay the equivalent of the cost of a nurse to break it.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Apr 19th, 2013 at 8:13pm

    Dave wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 7:44pm:

    Quote:
    The practice manager of one of those surgeries, Ashwell Medical Centre in Manningham, admitted the situation was “unpalatable” but he said it was locked into a contract of more than five years with its telephone system provider and would have to pay the equivalent of the cost of a nurse to break it.

    Is there any evidence that telephone system providers will not permit migration to the 0344 equivalent without penalty (which I accept would cost the surgery more, but hopefully not the cost of a nurse)? If so, are they allowed to do this?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 19th, 2013 at 10:21pm

    kasg wrote on Apr 19th, 2013 at 8:13pm:
    … Is there any evidence that telephone system providers will not permit migration to the 0344 equivalent without penalty (which I accept would cost the surgery more, but hopefully not the cost of a nurse)? If so, are they allowed to do this?

    Firstly, one cannot see what valid reason could be offered by a telephone system provider to justify refusing migration without penalty - this is the norm in the industry! The provider's own interests are fully protected, given that its customer is ready and able to meet the unsubsidised cost of its services.

    For a NHS GP, responsible for selecting whatever telephone system it wishes to use in delivering NHS services, it is quite "reasonable" for it to be expected to meet the cost of its chosen system. That is what the majority of GPs do, and what all are required to do under the terms of their NHS contract.

    Enquiries to every PCT in England, some of which were handled as FOI requests, failed to produce any evidence whatsoever of a refusal to permit migration by a GP from a 084 number to the equivalent 034 number.

    I see the lack of such evidence from any GP, which maintains that it is unable "to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number", as clear proof that it has failed to adequately "consider … varying the terms of the arrangement".

    (I refer, in particular, to the clause numbered 7.4.3(a) in the 2013/4 contract.)

    It is frustrating to have to keep coming back to this point by precise reference to the wording of the terms, when the DH and the BMA GPC should have clarified the position regarding 034 migration with NEG (as it was then) and Kingston Communications, as the contract revisions were being introduced. The drafting of the reference to "no greater cost than that of a call to a geographic number" almost echoes the Ofcom regulations covering 03, and the reference to variation of the terms of the arrangement (as opposed to termination) is readily interpreted as referring to migration. Guidance on this issue could then have been published at the time.

    The reasons why this was not done then are complex. The situation has however now changed with the replacement of many individual PCTs by the single body, NHS England. NHS England is in a position to make a well-informed single determination on interpretation and direct that this be followed in all cases.




    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 26th, 2013 at 8:56am

    Dave wrote on Apr 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:
    Chapelford Health & Wellbeing will change its phone number on Monday 22nd April. It has put together a two-page leaflet on the change.
    [/edit]


    Well, this practice has not changed its number yet and is still displaying 01925 574 165 on its website.   Perhaps they have changed their minds --- or did they have their minds changed for them?   Maybe this is very good news that a practice had a sudden last minute attack of conscience and decided not to proceed with ripping-off their patients?    If they did then it is an occasion for us campaigners to celebrate  :)

    But don't be too hasty, we don't know if they really have changed their minds or have merely postponed the dastardly deed because the link to their appalling document which attempts to justify their move to 0844 is still live.   We really need to see an statement by the practice which announces their decision and explains why they changed their minds.   Then we may be able to see if this matter should be brought to the attention of all the other delinquent GP practices around the country and persuade them to act similarly.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 26th, 2013 at 11:20am

    loddon wrote on Apr 26th, 2013 at 8:56am:
    Well, this practice has not changed its number yet and is still displaying 01925 574 165 on its website.   Perhaps they have changed their minds --- or did they have their minds changed for them?   Maybe this is very good news that a practice had a sudden last minute attack of conscience and decided not to proceed with ripping-off their patients?    If they did then it is an occasion for us campaigners to celebrate

    The relevant news story, with comments from the practice, is now published. It features at the top of the fair telecoms campaign news feed



    It is hoped that the story will be developed to cover the involvement of NHS England.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Apr 27th, 2013 at 5:49am
    They had their minds changed for them.  NHS England told three practices that if they brought in an expensive 0844 number, they would be in breach of their contracts.

    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315541/Is-end-premium-rate-lines-GP-NHS-orders-doctors-drop-40p-minute-charges.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 27th, 2013 at 9:16am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 26th, 2013 at 11:20am:
    … It is hoped that the story will be developed to cover the involvement of NHS England.

    Hopes have been fulfilled -


    bigjohn wrote on Apr 27th, 2013 at 5:49am:
    They had their minds changed for them.  NHS England told three practices that if they brought in an expensive 0844 number, they would be in breach of their contracts.

    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315541/Is-end-premium-rate-lines-GP-NHS-orders-doctors-drop-40p-minute-charges.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    I hope that readers of this public forum will understand why one has to wait until statements from involved parties have been provided to journalists and published before the full picture can be discussed.

    Readers of the printed and early online editions of the Mail article may notice an error. As I type this, I can say that this is currently being corrected - I hope to shortly be able to revise this comment (so please do not quote this sentence, if replying). A copy of the erroneous version of the article has been retained for reference, but I hope that we will be able to focus only on the main point of the story.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 28th, 2013 at 12:51am
    The fair telecoms campaign news feed now contains a link to an item in today's Sunday Mirror about Daisy Surgery Line


    Quote:
    NHS patients calling their doctor are paying up to 41p per minute on high cost phone lines

    Subscribers to the email update from that feed will be automatically notified of this new item at around 0800.


    We urge fellow campaigners to subscribe to updates from our feed for news and use this discussion forum for exchanges of comments and views. All feed items are also "tweeted" on @DH_fairtelecoms, with significant items being re-tweeted on the main @fairtelecoms Twitter presence. We welcome followers of both.

    (N.B. Unlike his site - no fair telecoms campaign activity is supported by advertising, neither is there any subscription payment. We do acknowledge the providers of free services we use.)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 28th, 2013 at 7:25am
    The Mirror have published a superficially critical story on GPs using high cost phone lines (numbers) to fleece their patients here :--
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-patients-calling-doctor-paying-1857870

    Some of the content is good and they seem to have done a certain amount of basic research for themselves instead of the lazy journalism that pervades most articles on this subject.  They took the trouble to test call 80 to see how long they had to wait to be answered and worked out the cost of these calls as an indication of the rip-off problem.

    There are several strange aspects to this story however, firstly the reference to 0855 numbers.   This is a new one on me and the Mirror doesn't say which surgeries are using this number type.

    Secondly the Mirror only allows comments to be made via facebook which prevents many of us from commenting or even reading others comments -- why do it that way?   Ludicrous discrimination.

    They quote certain authorities without comment or apparent question as to the truth of those comments such as, "Health Department guidelines issued in 2010 said GP practices should phase out phone lines costing more than local rates. But many are locked in long-term contracts with thousands of surgeries still using the premium-rate lines."    Well are they really "locked-in"; are there not options which could be taken such as migrating to 03 numbers or cancelling their contracts ( maybe at a cost which could be mitigated or eliminated be certain actions)?

    There is a hypocritical comment from Former Labour minister John Healey, "who successfully ­campaigned for GPs to drop these lines in his Yorkshire constituency", said: “No one should be forced to use these rip-off numbers. Guidelines created by Labour ruled out this practice. The Government needs to enforce the rules.”  John Healey seems to forget that his Labour Government did NOTHING to eliminate this scam.   Secretary of State Alan Johnson said that he would stop GPs using these numbers as quoted in his local paper in Hull but in the end he did NOTHING and proved himself to be useless, ineffective and hypocritical.   The Labour government presided over a whitewash of a "consultation" on the subject followed by a ridiculous report leading to the hopelessly incompetent Statute and amendments to the GPs NHS contract and "guidance" to other NHS organisations resulting in the shambles and chaos we still suffer from, with GPs and, source of all these problems "Daisy Surgery Line", continually making untrue statements like "NHS regulations permit their use (084 numbers)" when it has always been clear that the rules, when interpreted correctly and honestly, do nothing of the sort.   It is apparent that Daisy and Riley don't know the meaning of words like correct and honest.   And John Healey MP needs to learn how governments should make clear and unambiguous rules and how they should enforce them.

    Overall this article is very much a "curates egg", only good in parts.



    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 28th, 2013 at 7:55am
    There is a most disappointing quote from NHS England in the Mirror article today "NHS England said it encouraged doctors to ensure numbers were in the “best interests of patients”. A spokesman said: “The Department of Health made it a requirement two years ago that GP practices should not enter into any new contracts for phone ­services that would mean patients paying more than the cost of a geographical call.

    “This remains the case. However, we recognise that the GP cannot be ­expected to break existing contracts
    .”


    Compare that to the NHS England statements made to the Daily Mail in yesterdays article : "Following its ruling on three practices in Warrington, Cheshire, NHS England last night warned GPs that no surgery should be using 0844 numbers, and revealed it was checking how widely they are used.

    A spokesman for the organisation confirmed it would ‘act on’ the findings when the work has been completed."



    Absolutely, we the public want our highly paid officials in positions of authority to do their jobs and "take action".

    We shall judge the competence and capability of NHS England by how effectively they take action and how swiftly they do it.   They have made an excellent start by ordering those practices in Warrington to stop their move to 0844.   We hope to see that followed up in the next few weeks with similarly strong action over the thousand or so delinquent GP practices in the rest of the country.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 28th, 2013 at 11:01am
    The fair telecoms campaign news feed now reflects another newspaper item which has appeared online for publication in tomorrow's paper.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 28th, 2013 at 2:47pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 28th, 2013 at 11:01am:
    The fair telecoms campaign news feed now reflects another newspaper item which has appeared online for publication in tomorrow's paper.

    The article in question makes further use of the Sunday Mirror "probe".

    It carries the same incorrect cost of calls. The BT Call Set-up fee is now 15 pence including VAT, for Calling Plans "taken" on or after 19th April 2013 and 13.87 pence for those before. On a 28 minute, 50 second call, this is £1.63 or £1.62 respectively. The claim is made that the call would cost £1.43.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Apr 28th, 2013 at 6:40pm
    http://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/patient_fumes_over_welwyn_garden_city_surgery_s_costly_phone_system_1_2170344

    Patient fumes over Welwyn Garden City surgery’s ‘costly’ phone system

    <<
    An elderly patient has hit out after being forced to use a cash generating phone number to book a doctor’s appointment.

    The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, says she is now £4 out of pocket due to the 0844 number used by The Garden City Practice, in WGC.

    She said: “I don’t think it is right for us to pay this money, £4 is a lot of money for pensioners.”

    The Garden City Practice has three branches in the town and a partner for the practice has acknowledged the problem with the line.

    Dr Peter Shilliday said: “We are aware of the problem. It is not just us, there are other surgeries, it is a bit of a national issue. We are looking into it.

    “We are stuck in the contract and I am aware we will not be renewing it.”

    A spokesman for commissioners NHS England said: “NHS England supports and upholds previous guidance from the Department of Health, which states that GPs should always commission services that represent the best value for money for their patients.

    “If a call to a geographical area code number is cheaper for patients, then GPs are strongly advised that this should be the preferred option.”
    >>
    Welwyn Hatfield Times
    By Ewan Foskett, Saturday, April 27, 2013

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Apr 28th, 2013 at 8:55pm

    loddon wrote on Apr 28th, 2013 at 7:25am:
    firstly the reference to 0855 numbers.   This is a new one on me and the Mirror doesn't say which surgeries are using this number type.


    I would imagine that should read 0845 not 0855. ;)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 29th, 2013 at 6:14am

    bigjohn wrote on Apr 28th, 2013 at 8:55pm:
    I would imagine that should read 0845 not 0855. ;)


    Of course; it was just my little joke  :) ;)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 29th, 2013 at 6:38am

    Dave wrote on Apr 28th, 2013 at 2:47pm:
    The article in question makes further use of the Sunday Mirror "probe".

    This piece in the Mail-on-Sunday does indeed make use of (plagiarise?) the story in the Sunday mirror.   While it is good to see the story carried wider and longer one must wonder about the intelligence of the reporters and sub-editors who decided to write it and to pick out the glaringly obvious mistake in the Mirror and incorporate it into their own headline!  :-/ :-[   Surgeries using 0855 numbers!!!!!  :o   Or was it a deliberate swipe at the Mirror?   I think not as it would be lost on most readers.

    The Mail have subtly changed the emphasis towards Matthew Riley of Daisy plc and draw attention to his evil role.   This is picked up by at least one reader in the comments:--- 
    "This is an absolute disgrace and I find it hard to believe that any GP doesn't know the phone number to his/her own surgery. Matthew Riley should be forced to refund anyone conned out of his £80b fortune.
    - when did, that happen?!, 28/4/2013 14:04


    Another comment alludes to the wider scandal of 0844/5 numbers :---
    "0845 and 0844 should be outlawed across every business. Why do you have to pay to ring your insurance company, your broadband/network provider, your electricity/gas/water provider when you are already paying for a service? ..... Its disgusting how we are treated by services we already pay for!
    - whyohwhy, Horley, United Kingdom, 28/4/2013 13:20
    "

    Ofcom should take note.   The Ofcom proposal to allow the evil of "revenue sharing premium 084/7 numbers" to continue in the guise of access and revenue charges is not going to deal with the fundamental problem.   ::)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Apr 29th, 2013 at 8:45am

    loddon wrote on Apr 29th, 2013 at 6:38am:
    Another comment alludes to the wider scandal of 0844/5 numbers :---
    "0845 and 0844 should be outlawed across every business. Why do you have to pay to ring your insurance company, your broadband/network provider, your electricity/gas/water provider when you are already paying for a service? ..... Its disgusting how we are treated by services we already pay for!
    - whyohwhy, Horley, United Kingdom, 28/4/2013 13:20
    "

    Ofcom should take note. …

    The practice of double-charging, unless by communications providers, falls outside Ofcom's remit. The specific issue raised by 'whyohwhy' is being addressed by BIS through implementation of the provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive. (It is however probably worth considering the possibility that someone who submits comments to the Mail Online under this nickname will, by virtue of their chosen identity, never be satisfied by any answer to the questions which they pose.)



    loddon wrote on Apr 29th, 2013 at 6:38am:
    … The Ofcom proposal to allow the evil of "revenue sharing premium 084/7 numbers" to continue in the guise of access and revenue charges is not going to deal with the fundamental problem.

    If "the fundamental problem" is the fact that the telephone bill can be used as a way of collecting money to be passed on to a third party (the person called), then Ofcom is doing nothing to stop it. Indeed, Ofcom seeks to allow this to work more effectively. Its provisions cover all the relevant ranges: 084, 087, 09 and 118. All of being treated in the same manner, notwithstanding additional regulation that already applies to the latter three.


    Many of us see the "evil" as lying in the fact that the "Service Charge" is not visible to those who pay it, nor, according to Daisy, to those who benefit from it. When the value passed on to the benefit of the third party is openly declared, along with the charge retained by the caller's telephone service provider, one "fundamental problem" will have been addressed.



    I understand that the article dated Sunday 28 April at 10:48 may have only appeared on MailOnline. If anyone can confirm that it appeared in either the Mail on Sunday or today's Daily Mail - please let me know.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Apr 30th, 2013 at 8:57am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 29th, 2013 at 8:45am:
    [quote author=loddon link=1303253575/552#552 date=1367213886]
    If "the fundamental problem" is the fact that the telephone bill can be used as a way of collecting money to be passed on to a third party (the person called), ....

    I agree that revenue sharing is a problem and should never have been allowed on 084 and 087 numbers however the fundamental problem is the premium that is charged to callers of these numbers as I have said repeatedly in postings here and responses to earlier Ofcom consultations.   The telecoms industry, and Ofcom, argue that 084/7 numbers offer all sorts of claimed facilities and benefits to the users of these numbers.   I say fine, then those users should be the ones to pay for them not the callers.   The premium is usually very much larger than the revenue share and is in my view the main problem.

    We seem to be straying very far off topic with this discussion so I suggest that we discontinue this line here and move over to the "Ofcom Consultation" thread.http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1366033132/2#2

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Apr 30th, 2013 at 9:26am
    Another story, this time from the Telegraph & Argus in Bradford:

    NHS to probe Bradford surgeries' use of premium numbers

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on May 3rd, 2013 at 1:54am
    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/practice-income/nhs-england-to-crack-down-on-gp-use-of-0844-phone-numbers/20002813.article#commentsubmitted

    NHS England to crack down on GP use of 0844 phone numbers
    1 May 2013 | By Madlen Davies

    <<
    NHS England has announced it will crack down on GPs use of premium phone numbers, and has asked local area teams to identify practices still using them.

    Last year MPs called for GPs to stop using 0844 numbers in their practices, after it was found a significant numbers of practices were still using the premium phone number despite new rules introduced by the DH from April 2011 that stated the costs of calls to practices must not exceed those of local calls.

    NHS England confirmed the DH guidance on keeping the cost of calls to the practice equivalent to the price of a geographical call still stands. They have asked local area teams to review PCT documents to check which practices are still using 0844 numbers and will ‘act upon’ their findings in due course.

    An NHS England spokesman said: ‘NHS England supports guidance from the Department of Health that GP practices should not enter into any new contracts for telephone services that would mean patients pay more than the cost of a geographical call to their practice.

    ‘GP practices were required to review existing arrangements by 1 April 2011. This remains the case.

    ‘NHS England was established on 1 April 2013 and as part of our new role we are actively researching the extent of use of 0844 numbers and will act upon our findings as and when this work has been carried out.’ [...]
    >>

    Source: PULSE

    And, in the comment section...

    David Hickson | 02 May 2013 0:37am

    This comment has been removed by the moderator.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 3rd, 2013 at 4:10am

    idb wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 1:54am:
    NHS England to crack down on GP use of 0844 phone numbers
    1 May 2013 | By Madlen Davies

    This item has featured on the fair telecoms campaign news feed for over 24 hours.

    That feed now contains a reference to a blogging - Comment formerly published by 'Pulse', which shows the relevant part of what Pulse had previously published - now published by Google cache.

    I have little to add, but I would have thought that if this news item warrants a mention in this discussion forum then this should be for the purpose of making comment. We are keen for fellow campaigners to be aware of all developments, but we cannot duplicate our efforts, or worse, by continually updating many channels with news stories.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:05am
    I have contacted Dan Jarvis on a number of occassions in regard to GPs use of 0844/5 numbers in Barnsley and he has  not done anything constructive. If anybody can report this to the relevant department they may do something about it

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:20am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 4:10am:
    This item has featured on the fair telecoms campaign news feed for over 24 hours.
    So what. And your point is...?


    SilentCallsVictim wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 4:10am:
    I have little to add, but I would have thought that if this news item warrants a mention in this discussion forum then this should be for the purpose of making comment. We are keen for fellow campaigners to be aware of all developments, but we cannot duplicate our efforts, or worse, by continually updating many channels with news stories.
    Why does the posting of a relevant news item cause any 'duplication of effort'? Just because a news item appears in the fair telecoms news feed it does not automatically mean that it cannot appear here either. I suspect that this discussion forum has greater visibility than the news feed simply because of its age. Even if it doesn't, just what is the specific problem with posting the same item here? Does the news feed have a monopoly on aggregation of news items? I have contributed news items for many years, some with comment, many without. It has never been an issue.... until now! The opportunity for friendly debate within this medium is sadly long gone, with contributors often berated for their views.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 3rd, 2013 at 12:11pm

    idb wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:20am:
    Why does the posting of a relevant news item cause any 'duplication of effort'?

    I suspect that this discussion forum has greater visibility than the news feed simply because of its age. Even if it doesn't, just what is the specific problem with posting the same item here?

    Happily, or regretably, there are many issues to address and campaigner's time is limited.

    If anyone would like to volunteer to replicate the fair telecoms campaign news feed across all of the relevant channels which do not allow this to be done automatically (including this forum), then we would be delighted.

    In establishing "the fair telecoms campaign" we hoped to better coordinate the common efforts of many campaigners, so as to further increase their effectiveness. I am sure that many of us have Google alerts in place and regularly scour the web for matters of interest. Sometimes this is helpful, because someone may fall upon something that has been missed by others. I am however concerned that a lot of energy that could be directed to effective action, or at least worthwhile discussion, is spent on nothing more than duplicated effort in keeping ourselves and others up to date.

    Many see use of RSS, as a means of sharing information, as out of date. Bulletin boards are from a previous generation and many have not even caught up with RSS, or indeed any automated means of inward sharing. That is why I characterise this forum as a place for discussion.

    I wholly agree with the view that such discussion should be restricted to the issues themselves and the views expressed, never the contributors. If I have ever been drawn into straying from this principle, as I may have done (probably in retaliation), then I offer my genuine apologies.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 4th, 2013 at 10:51am
    To address a misunderstanding, I have been asked to make it clear that the following comment was offered in the same way that any member of the forum may offer a personal opinion.


    SilentCallsVictim wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 4:10am:
    I would have thought that if this news item warrants a mention in this discussion forum then this should be for the purpose of making comment.

    I had intended my later posting (#560) to indicate my acceptance that many active campaigners will always continue to use the SayNoTo0870 forum as their means of announcing developments, by reproducing the text of published material with links. In turn, they and others will look for, and expect to find, such postings as their way of keeping up to date with developments. If my comments were not clear on this point, then I must offer an explicit assurance that I fully accept and understand this reality.

    I would indeed "like to think" that the forum was used simply as a means of open public discussion, the purpose for which it is well suited, with individual topics being opened for discussion and a thread of comments following. The forum does not offer a ready means for it to be used as a way of being notified only of news developments on subjects of interest that are published elsewhere. I must however accept that some wish it to be used for that purpose.

    I hope it is clear to all that it is not for me, or any member, to direct others in their use of the forum. If anyone has found valid grounds for thinking that I believed otherwise, when expressing a personal opinion, then I must apologise.


    The fair telecoms campaign was established to provide a means for those who are engaged in active campaigning on relevant issues to co-ordinate their efforts so as to make them more effective. Given limited time and energy, we seek to maximise what may be achieved from the effort that can be expended.

    Through its website (which is not supported by advertising), the campaign seeks to offer a resource for those who are interested in following the issues it covers. It features a library of relevant radio and TV items and an archive of media coverage. Although comments in response to entries on its blog are invited, it does not offer a discussion forum or database of alternative numbers. It aims only to complement existing well established resources on the internet.

    A feed of news items covering both external and internal activity is provided, with the opportunity to view this on demand, be notified of new items by email (no more than once a day) or maintain a constant link through any RSS news reader. All news items are also "tweeted" on one twitter account and selectively "re-tweeted" on another. A Facebook page also carries all news, but this is not yet properly branded and is not promoted.


    To conclude with an "on topic" remark - we are expecting news stories on this topic to be published in two national newspapers tomorrow. (N.B. nothing in the news media can be guaranteed in advance - except perhaps speculation about the result of the general election that will occur in two years time.)

    We hope that these articles will be published online in time for inclusion in the news feed email update which only goes out at 8:00 AM. Followers of this thread are obviously free to decide whether to subscribe to that feed (which also covers other topics addressed by the fair telecoms campaign) or perhaps wait for someone to reproduce the copy as a posting in this forum.

    I hope that I have now made my point, as requested. We have different views and opinions, but I hope we are all able to understand each other.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on May 7th, 2013 at 5:40am
    Some news from Wales re Doctors use of 0844.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/dozens-welsh-gp-surgeries-using-3410424

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on May 7th, 2013 at 6:07am

    bigjohn wrote on May 7th, 2013 at 5:40am:
    Some news from Wales re Doctors use of 0844.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/dozens-welsh-gp-surgeries-using-3410424


    SilentCallsVictim wrote on May 4th, 2013 at 10:51am:
    …To conclude with an "on topic" remark - we are expecting news stories on this topic to be published in two national newspapers tomorrow. (N.B. nothing in the news media can be guaranteed in advance - except perhaps speculation about the result of the general election that will occur in two years time.)

    We hope that these articles will be published online in time for inclusion in the news feed email update which only goes out at 8:00 AM. Followers of this thread are obviously free to decide whether to subscribe to that feed (which also covers other topics addressed by the fair telecoms campaign) or perhaps wait for someone to reproduce the copy as a posting in this forum.

    This most relevant Wales item was included in the fair telecoms campaign news feed on Sunday morning, along with a news release in response. A further briefing has subsequently been added to cover the radical announcement made.

    The other expected item, covering the nation of England, has not yet appeared. We are expecting a good amount of further coverage of the exciting development across all media to be prepared when journalists return from their long weekend break.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on May 29th, 2013 at 9:22am

    loddon wrote on Apr 28th, 2013 at 7:55am:
    We shall judge the competence and capability of NHS England by how effectively they take action and how swiftly they do it.   They have made an excellent start by ordering those practices in Warrington to stop their move to 0844.   We hope to see that followed up in the next few weeks with similarly strong action over the thousand or so delinquent GP practices in the rest of the country.


    Well, a month has now gone by and we are wondering how NHS England are getting on with it.   We said we will judge NHS England by how swiftly they take action.    It would boost our confidence in them if they issued a monthly(better weekly) progress report.   No news yet it seems.   

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by NGMsGhost on May 30th, 2013 at 12:39pm

    loddon wrote on May 29th, 2013 at 9:22am:
    We said we will judge NHS England by how swiftly they take action.    It would boost our confidence in them if they issued a monthly(better weekly) progress report.   No news yet it seems.   


    Do NHS England have any backstop powers that they could use, however reluctantly (rather like the ICO who has theoretical draconian powers to fine but is very loathed to use them) to start fining GP Practices if they do not come in to line.  How about then starting by fining all the guilty practices a flat £5,000 and the indicate another fine of £20,000 will be imposed if they not complied in a further six months time.

    Greedy GPs who use 0844 numbers are only interested in money (and clearly not their patients) so why not play them at their own game by making the continued use of 0844 numbers cost them more than they were saving in free switchboard equipment and maintenance.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on May 31st, 2013 at 9:39am
    Do so agree with NGMsGhost

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by NGMsGhost on May 31st, 2013 at 10:22am

    Keith wrote on May 31st, 2013 at 9:39am:
    Do so agree with NGMsGhost


    Thanks Keith.

    I do hope SilentCallsVictim and Dave would also support a more proactive approach of this kind by NHS England.

    After all if they found the same GPs dishing out tablets not licensed by the Medicines Agency for sale in the UK I am sure they would not take such a benign and easy going view as they do about continued misuse of 084 numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on May 31st, 2013 at 11:24am
    No problem NGMsGhost. My battle with the now dead Surrey PCT was soul destroying. Correspondence that I think must have exceeded 100. Totally and utterly useless.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Jun 1st, 2013 at 4:07am
    http://www.gponline.com/News/article/1184114/practices-face-60000-penalty-0844-phone-lines/

    Practices face £60,000 penalty over 0844 phone lines

    By Marina Soteriou, 29 May 2013

    <<
    NHS England said it was ‘actively reviewing' use of 0844 numbers by practices and warned that it will ‘act’ on its findings. GPs said NHS England had warned them they were in breach of their contract by continuing to use these phone numbers.

    In the 2010/11 GMS contract, the DH banned practices from signing up to new phone lines that charge patients more than local rates.

    But GP leaders said some practices still hold contracts with service providers lasting up to seven years, and would face severe financial penalties if they ended their contract early.

    Dr Deborah Colvin, chair of City and Hackney LMC, told the UK LMCs conference last week that her practice was under pressure from NHS England to stop using its 0844 number.

    She said: ‘In order to get out of our contract it would cost us £60,000. We’ve explained that to the patients, we’ve explained that to NHS England, but we are being told that we are in breach of our [NHS] contract.

    ‘We put the 0844 number into our surgery a couple of years ago in order to increase the number of lines for patients so that they would get through easier, having been reassured that it would be cheaper for patients to ring us that way.'

    However, GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said that practices are not in breach of their NHS contract for having 0844 numbers and advised those affected to also provide a geographical number for patients who request one.

    ‘Practices can’t be bullied into making a change before their contract is up,’ he said. ‘Some of the contracts last up to seven years.’

    Dr Vautrey said that in many parts of the country, practices had been encouraged to use 0844 numbers by the DH or PCTs but have since been under pressure over the past few years to stop using them. ‘This is no fault of practices that they have found themselves in this situation,’ he said.

    An NHS England spokeswoman said: ‘NHS England supports guidance from the DH that GP practices should not enter into any new contracts for telephone services that would mean patients pay more than the cost of a geographical call to their practice.

    ‘GP practices were required to review existing arrangements by 1 April 2011. This remains the case. We are actively reviewing the extent of use of 0844 numbers and will act upon our findings as and when this work has been carried out.’
    >>

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by NGMsGhost on Jun 1st, 2013 at 8:35am
    idb,

    Thanks for the useful info.

    So clearly NHS England needs to impose a £250,000 penalty on each of these "bad boy" practices if they continue to use 0844 numbers after a specific and clearly given deadline.

    The practices will then have no doubt about the fact that switching to 03 numbers will be the more pofitable choice for them to make.

    The disgusting greed of some GPs who clearly only care about their next where their next Mercedes and BMW and holiday in the Caribbean is coming from and not about the welfare of their patients is utterly contemptable. :o >:( >:( >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 1st, 2013 at 2:02pm
    I'm just gobbed smacked by the attitude of the GPs (and I'm married to a Doctor) claiming it is not their fault or they were mislead. GPs are businesses. That was their choice. They did not want to become NHS employees. Businesses make choices and have to take the consequences of those choices. If they were mislead then they have the opportunity to go back to their supplier. If not they take the consequences of their actions and it was up to them to do the research in the first place and that research wasn't exactly rocket science. I suspect the £ signs overrode caution.

    I run my own business and I have to take the consequences of my bad decisions, so should GPs.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jun 1st, 2013 at 8:33pm

    Keith wrote on Jun 1st, 2013 at 2:02pm:
    GPs are businesses. That was their choice. They did not want to become NHS employees. Businesses make choices and have to take the consequences of those choices. If they were mislead then they have the opportunity to go back to their supplier.


    The GPs still have an easy way out without incurring any undue penalty costs; see this comment under the article :---


    "George Kendrick   1 day ago
    Fully endorse the comments by "Ian G" and "David".
    To put it simply and not beat around the bush the claim of a £60,000 inevitable penalty is untrue.

    The simple remedy available to these GPs wrongly using 0844 numbers is to convert to an 0344 number. No penalty is incurred, it can be done without delay, they can retain their existing system without severing the contract. All that will happen is that the subsidy from the calls will cease, and the good news is they will no longer be ripping off their patients. Everyone will be happy."


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 1st, 2013 at 9:00pm
    It is too soon to get excited, but it may not be long before the obvious solution of number migration, as opposed to early contract termination, is finally recognised for what it is.

    Given that so many parties have screwed up over this, if everyone acceptable responsibility for their faults and "did the honourable thing", there would be nobody left to implement a solution to keep GP primary care services running and funded only properly.

    As for the suggestion of financial penalties on practices, I personally doubt that the amount which partners draw out of their practices in salary is as closely related to the amount of funding provided as may be commonly believed. I suspect that they look after themselves appropriately regardless of the level of funding and the expenses and possible penalties incurred.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by NGMsGhost on Jun 3rd, 2013 at 1:41pm

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jun 1st, 2013 at 9:00pm:
    As for the suggestion of financial penalties on practices, I personally doubt that the amount which partners draw out of their practices in salary is as closely related to the amount of funding provided as may be commonly believed. I suspect that they look after themselves appropriately regardless of the level of funding and the expenses and possible penalties incurred.


    So you seem to suggest that GPs work rather like bankers then SCV.

    That is that if they have managed things badly in their business they look to screw their customers to restore the standard of living they were previously used to.  The bankers do it with derisory interest for deposits and sky high interest rates for most forms of borrowing other than mortgages.

    But how will GPs transfer this financial hit elsewhere exactly?  By only running the heating in their surgeries at 15C in the winter, not repainting the marked walls and making patients lie on their backs on ripped couches to be prodded and poked?

    I would have thought that in business based on fixed capitation fees and some fees for programs for inoculations etc their options are limited and that if they got a hit in terms of a large fine for their malfeasance towards patience on telecoms that the net profitability of the business which funds their incomes would be the main casualty.

    Also if the effect of cancelling their disgusting 084/7 contracts is as small as you suggest and has almost no impact on their vast six figure salaries (for doing a job with no business risk and with no anti social hours as these have all been outsourced) then why haven't they already taken the hit and made the change?

    Really it seems thoroughly naive of you to suggest that the whole impact of the loss of this revenue is trivial as if that were true why would NEG have tried so hard to flog phone systems paid for at the expense of patients and not out of doctors budgets in the first place and why would doctors be fighting so hard to reverse their mistake.

    What this whole episode though is another longstanding area of cultural mispractice which many parts of the NHS GP medical service have yet to reverse.  And that area is one of an attitude of smug contempt for patients and their rights where all too frequently arrogant GPs ignore the problems patients come to see them with and all too often suggest that health problems are a patient's own fault due to the eating or lifestyle choices that they have made.

    If GP's did not rely on cosy little catchment areas with little competition and had to fight for customers by treating them the best with the best attitude and the best quality buildings and facilities (not those vile little council house rabbit huts that the NHS generally knocks up for them) then we might not be in this whole mess in relation to 084/7 numbers to begin with.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jun 3rd, 2013 at 3:14pm

    NGMsGhost wrote on Jun 3rd, 2013 at 1:41pm:
       
    "..... and why would doctors be fighting so hard to reverse their mistake."


    Do you mean " ...  fighting hard NOT to reverse their mistake"?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 5th, 2013 at 12:50pm

    NGMsGhost wrote on Jun 3rd, 2013 at 1:41pm:
    If GP's did not rely on cosy little catchment areas with little competition and had to fight for customers by treating them the best with the best attitude and the best quality buildings and facilities (not those vile little council house rabbit huts that the NHS generally knocks up for them) then we might not be in this whole mess in relation to 084/7 numbers to begin with.

    Whilst the proper purpose of this forum is to promote free discussion, without any obligation to confront the reality of achieving change in the world as it is, we are now surely going much too far.

    As I understand it, the present NHS GP contracts make no provision for financial penalties on account of breaches, as total compliance with the standard terms is expected. The very concept of putting a price on compliance, so that a practice may choose which regulations it wishes to follow, is surely unacceptable.

    That was a little far-fetched for one who campaigns for achievable change, however I now find myself being implicitly invited to address the quoted comment. I see little prospect of the NHS being abolished and a market being created in which supply of primary healthcare will significantly exceed demand.


    I will continue to work to get NHS GPs off 084 numbers in the world as it is today. It is for members of this forum to decide how far they wish their discussion to roam from current realities.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 5th, 2013 at 4:23pm
    Surely the nature of all contracts is that you are expected to comply with the terms agreed and if you don't then you can expect to pay a cost for not doing so. I don't see why GPs should be exempt. What is the point of a contract if you can ignore the terms without consequence.

    You also don't need a provision for a financial penalty. Most contracts do not spell out the penalty of failure. It is normally calculated as the loss incurred as a consequence. Obviously that is hard in the case of the 0844 issue, in particular identifying those that have lost, but a ball park amount would  not be impossible to identify.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 5th, 2013 at 4:53pm

    Keith wrote on Jun 5th, 2013 at 4:23pm:
    Surely the nature of all contracts is that you are expected to comply with the terms agreed and if you don't then you can expect to pay a cost for not doing so. I don't see why GPs should be exempt. What is the point of a contract if you can ignore the terms without consequence.

    You also don't need a provision for a financial penalty. Most contracts do not spell out the penalty of failure. It is normally calculated as the loss incurred as a consequence. Obviously that is hard in the case of the 0844 issue, in particular identifying those that have lost, but a ball park amount would  not be impossible to identify.

    I am not sure that exploring the legal complexities of this matter is actually helpful, however …

    The loss is not suffered by the party to the contract, NHS England, but by the callers to the practice. The losses incurred are not to the direct financial benefit of the practice, but are consequential losses to the benefit of the caller's telephone service provider or slightly more direct losses to the benefit of the principal providing telephone service to the practice and also their agent. Further monies are assigned to the payment of a lease agreement entered into by the practice through the system provider.

    This may be an interesting intellectual discussion, but I am far more concerned about bringing this matter to an end, already far later than it should have been resolved, than putting more NHS money into the hands of lawyers and introducing further delay.

    GPs are expected to comply fully with the terms of their contract - there is no half-way house. An outright refusal to comply can have only one consequence - removal of the contract.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 6th, 2013 at 11:27am
    I agree it is an academic point SCV but you did make points that weren't quite correct  ;D

    Agreed that the losses are not made by a party to the contract and so can't bring an action under the contract (and if it were so we could have ended this years ago), unless you treat NHS England as representing the population (and now you are into areas of the law beyond my knowledge).

    The losses incurred don't have to equate to the financial benefit to the practice. If I pay someone £1000 to do something for me and it costs £2000 to put right their failure I can sue for £2000.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 6th, 2013 at 11:53am

    Keith wrote on Jun 6th, 2013 at 11:27am:
    I agree it is an academic point SCV but you did make points that weren't quite correct  ;D

    As we are both delving into issue of law of which we have no deep understanding, you are right to seek to keep these exchanges, and accusations of error, good-natured.

    Given that the funding provided to practices by NHS England is to be used at the discretion of the practice, I was thinking that a court would probably rule that the amount recoverable in the event of a breach of contract would be limited to that which was "improperly acquired", given that NHS England could not show any actual financial loss incurred by itself.

    This is however just chit-chat. The NHS relies heavily on the goodwill of GPs and their willingness to provide primary care services under its rules. We may be unhappy at this, but it is a reality that we have to accept. Achieving a resolution of this issue in the real world requires a refined approach.

    Formal "legal opinion" ruling that a practice is not necessarily in breach of its contract by continuing to use a 084 number past 1 April 2011 has already been obtained. I personally believe that this is flawed, as indeed it is only an "opinion", but I do not want this issue to become a goldmine for lawyers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 6th, 2013 at 2:30pm
    Lightwater Surgery, Surrey has now put a geo number on their web site (in addition to the 0844 number). I can't find any reference/publicity to this change.

    I can't find any info on how it is going to operate. That is will it be a genuine means of access or will it be a phone that is not answered or calls are put behind the 0844 queue and therefore will always be engaged when people are using the 0844 number.

    I guess this will be quickly tested.

    If equal access is given with the 0844 number then a positive (if very belated) result.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jun 6th, 2013 at 4:15pm

    Keith wrote on Jun 6th, 2013 at 2:30pm:
    I can't find any info on how it is going to operate. That is will it be a genuine means of access or will it be a phone that is not answered or calls are put behind the 0844 queue and therefore will always be engaged when people are using the 0844 number.

    I guess this will be quickly tested.

    If equal access is given with the 0844 number then a positive (if very belated) result.


    Yes, easily tested.  Having called the 01276 number I was put through to reception fairly quickly and they told me this number has been made available during the past 2 days and will have equal access to that of the other two numbers.   This is in readiness for a new automatic answering system which is soon to be used and all three number types will continue in operation.

    Incidentally the other two numbers are 0844 and 0870 and the fax is 0844.    I seem to remember that 0870 was banned in 2005 --- ah well.  ::)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Jun 6th, 2013 at 4:32pm

    Keith wrote on Jun 6th, 2013 at 2:30pm:
    Lightwater Surgery, Surrey has now put a geo number on their web site (in addition to the 0844 number). I can't find any reference/publicity to this change.

    I can't find any info on how it is going to operate. That is will it be a genuine means of access or will it be a phone that is not answered or calls are put behind the 0844 queue and therefore will always be engaged when people are using the 0844 number.

    I guess this will be quickly tested.

    If equal access is given with the 0844 number then a positive (if very belated) result.

    I disagree that this is a result, unless there is a process in place to ensure that no one who pays more to call the 0844 number doesn't call it — as required by the contract. I can't think how the practice might pull that one off, in practice.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 7th, 2013 at 9:14am
    Point taken Dave. Just grateful for small successes. In fact of course many may well be unaware and just carry on using the 0844 number.

    I tested it this morning and it seems to go through to the same queue as the 0844 number (obviously I can't be 100% sure). If so it does mean that people using the Geo No are getting equal treatment.

    One might ask then why not remove the 0844 number altogether?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 7th, 2013 at 10:28am

    Keith wrote on Jun 7th, 2013 at 9:14am:
    … small successes


    I cannot regard anything that enables, possibly false, partial justification for a continuing breach of the terms of the GP NHS contract as a success - quite the reverse.


    Keith wrote on Jun 7th, 2013 at 9:14am:
    … it seems to go through to the same queue as the 0844 number (obviously I can't be 100% sure)

    If this is true then the practice has made a significant investment, at least that which it would have had to make if switching from the 0844 number altogether. Furthermore, it would have taken a different approach to that recommended by its system provider, which is for a single geographic line (provided free of charge) to operate alongside the 0844 service.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jun 16th, 2013 at 11:38am
    A momentous development in the battle against GPs using 0844 numbers has been announced this morning.

    The Fair Telecoms campaign says it has secured an assurance from Daisy Group that users of its Surgery Line system may switch from 0844 to 03 or 01/02 intelligent numbers on request.   FT says it is working to support NHS England as it prepares to take action against GPs who continue to use 084 numbers in breach of their contracts.

    http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/uploads/1/1/4/5/11456053/migrate.pdf

    FT, who we all know is run by Dave and SCV, regular contributors to this Forum, have quoted these statements secured directly from Daisy :---

    Surgery Line customers are NOT forced to continue using 0844 numbers until their long-term contracts end - it is open to them to move to a geographic number on request. Such customers can switch, free of charge, to numbers charged at the geographic rate.”
    And :---
    We are referring to the 030 and 01/02 numbers. We were not referring to the option of a concurrent local rate line to run alongside an 084 number.”

    FT also quote this statement from NHS England :---
    We are linking with the fair telecoms campaign to help develop a range of strategies that can be employed by GP practices to enable them to migrate from 084 numbers to alternative arrangements, that don’t lose some of the added functionality that some patients value, but which cost no more than dialling a geographically identified number.”

    It is staggering to consider how difficult all our campaigning has been over the last 7 years or more and now suddenly we seem to have a major breakthrough.    I suspect that this has quite a lot to do with the attitude of NHS England in starting its management role.   They seem to have a refreshing attitude to rip-of issues and their prompt action in stopping GPs in Warrington from moving over to 0844 last month must have had an impact on the attitude of Daisy Group (formerly NEG).    These statements from Daisy are certainly a radical change to the intransigent position which NEG have taken in the past.

    I hope readers will not think that I am promoting the FT campaign by drawing attention to their news release.   I disagree strongly with the FT stance regarding Ofcom's proposals for “simplifying” non-geo numbers but that doesn't prevent me from giving credit where credit is due and I have to say to the FT campaign very well done!

    It is remarkable to see an official government body with responsibility for a great part of our government expenditure announce that it is “linking with the fair telecoms campaign to help develop a range of strategies”.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bbb_uk on Jun 16th, 2013 at 4:05pm
    I too would like to thank the Fair Telecoms campain for all their hardwork - this is by no means been an easy feat.

    Thanks also to other forum members and even non-forum members who may have helped.

    But the biggest thanks goes to Dave and SilentCallsVictim.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jun 17th, 2013 at 8:47am
    More anger at GPs 0844 numbers being reported :---

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/lifestyle/health/anger-gps-over-premium-rate-4325820


    "Anger at GPs over premium rate lines
       16 Jun 2013 13:37      

    Doctors accused of 'taxing' patients by using 084 numbers

    Doctors in the West Midlands have been lambasted by a campaign group for forcing sick patients to use expensive phone numbers to call them.

    Practices in Birmingham and the Black Country are near the top of a list of shame published by the Fair Telecoms Campaign, for ‘taxing’ needy residents through premium-rate 084 numbers
    ."

    Daisy Group are reported to have agreed to stop marketing 0844 numbers to NHS organisations and said it had responded to a public outcry.

    This is excellent news and other papers are reporting similarly.    If Daisy have "agreed" to stop marketing it would be useful if the Birmingham Mail had reported who Daisy have agreed with?    My guess is NHS England, but it would be nice to know.

    It has taken Daisy/NEG many years to respond but at least they now seem to be getting the message.  :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jun 17th, 2013 at 10:34am
    (With reference to recent comments.)

    Whilst some may not agree with all aspects of the tactical position taken in public statements using the name "the fair telecoms campaign", the aim is to represent the objectives of the very many people who are actively seeking the elimination of inequities in the world of telecoms. Any credit assigned to "the fair telecoms campaign" must therefore apply to all those involved, regardless of the amount of effort that they are able to contribute and the role they are able to take.

    People are free to disassociate themselves from "the fair telecoms campaign" if they wish. When we comment using that name, we do not in any way exclude those who may disagree with some of the tactical positions taken for the sake of furthering shared objectives, or those who may only be able to make a relatively modest contribution to campaigning.

    Media coverage and public statements are valuable in advancing the cause, however it is only when real changes are made in practice that anything is actually achieved. We are pleased to acknowledge thanks and congratulations, however there is much more that needs to happen and more work is required both at the general level and with every specific case. We hope that others will join us in doing all we can to press forward.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Keith on Jun 17th, 2013 at 1:45pm
    Bearing in mind the ticking off I got for what I said was good news re Lightwater Surgery I'm taking note of my failings  ;)

    We must keep on our toes regarding the recent very good news. I can now see the ploy coming into play where the 0844 numbers are kept on board for a 'transition' period until the public get used to the new numbers, or to put it another way while the public continue to get ripped off by the lack of publicity for new numbers and continue to use the 0844 numbers they know.

    I look forward to a swift transition  :o

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Aug 15th, 2013 at 3:02am
    Redbridge GP surgeries still using ‘extortionate’ premium rate numbers despite government ban

    http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/news/redbridge_gp_surgeries_still_using_extortionate_premium_rate_numbers_despite_government_ban_1_2328104

    Lizzie Dearden, Reporter Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    <<
    Several Redbridge GP surgeries are still using “extortionate” premium rate phone numbers despite a government ban.

    Calls to The Evergreen Surgery, in High Street, Wanstead, cost at least 4p a minute but many callers pay considerably more from mobiles or providers other than BT.

    The regional number listed on many websites is out of service and directs callers to re-dial the premium rate 0844 line.

    One woman said her 92-year-old mother was paying £5 for regular calls and became distressed about her rocketing phone bill.

    Sue Taylor, of Loughton, said: “Elderly people call doctors all the time so how much money are they taking from pensioners like my mum who are on a basic rate pension?

    “I think it’s extortion – vulnerable people may not be able to afford it and it’s going to stop them calling.”

    In December 2009 the government ordered GPs to stop using premium rate numbers and NHS England is now auditing how “reliant” surgeries are on revenue from calls.

    A spokesman said: “GP practices should not renew or enter into any new contracts for telephone services that charge patients more than the cost of a geographical call.”

    When the Recorder phoned The Evergreen Surgery, we were on hold for five minutes before reaching a receptionist.

    The surgery declined to comment.

    Chadwell Heath Surgery, in Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, Goodmayes Medical Practice, in Green Lane, Goodmayes, and the Chigwell Medical Centre, in Fencepiece Road, Chigwell, also use 0844 numbers but list an “alternative” geographical line.

    The Doctor’s House surgery in Cameron Road, Seven Kings, lists only an 0208 number on its own website but the premium rate number that shows in search engine results is still in operation.

    The Willows Medical Practice, in Manford Way, Hainault, uses a premium rate line that does not carry a warning of charges.

    David Hickson works with the Fair Telecoms Campaign is working to stop surgeries charging patients for 0844 calls.

    He said: “It is the principle of the NHS to not allow GPs to fund their surgeries through charges on patients.

    “They can transfer the same service on to geographical numbers so there is no excuse not to.”
    >>






    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by idb on Aug 17th, 2013 at 10:04pm
    Bexley GP practices challenged over use of 0844 numbers

    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/10617648.Bexley_GP_practices_challenged_over_use_of_0844_numbers/

    By Rebecca Compton

    <<
    GP PRACTICES in Bexley are being challenged over use of 0844 numbers for patients booking appointments.

    Council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill, chairman of Bexley's health and wellbeing board, has written to ask five practices asking them not to promote the use of 0844 numbers which lead to patients incurring unnecessary costs.

    These are Lakeside in Thamesmead, Cairngall in Belvedere, Good Health in Barnehurst, Parkside in Bexleyheath and Plas Meddyg in Bexley.

    Cllr O'Neill said: "I hope the local practices will stop promoting these numbers now without the need for NHS England to take action against them."

    "Many people operate on tight budgets and the board are very unhappy they could find themselves paying unnecessarily for a basic service that should be free."

    But Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said: "0844 numbers have a place as they offer a cheaper service to the practice and are inexpensive for people calling from a landline.

    "I have worked with GPs to make sure they offer and advertise an alternate landline number for those with mobiles.

    "Lakeside and Cairngall offer their patients the best of both worlds with 0844 and a landline."

    NHS England has pledged to take action against GP practices charging more for 0844 calls than the cost of telephoning a local number.
    >>

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Aug 19th, 2013 at 5:49am
    It is easy to see whose side Theresa Pearce MP is on, obviously the GP's not the Patients. Shouldn't someone point out to her that she is using Daisy's old online garbage that even they are not presenting as their usual loophole to gain compliance. Would she use the Two-tier NHS geo. number and be happy to keep re-dialing, I think not !!!!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Sep 9th, 2013 at 7:59am

    idb wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 1:54am:
    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/practice-income/nhs-england-to-crack-down-on-gp-use-of-0844-phone-numbers/20002813.article#commentsubmitted

    NHS England to crack down on GP use of 0844 phone numbers
    1 May 2013 | By Madlen Davies

    <<
    NHS England has announced it will crack down on GPs use of premium phone numbers, and has asked local area teams to identify practices still using them.


    Well, what are NHS England doing??????

    No news and no action from NHS England over all these months !!  :(     After a promising start in April and all this promise to take action we have seen nothing!!    About time NHS England show some results.   Are they going to turn out to be as ineffective and incompetent as their predecessors ??

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Sep 21st, 2013 at 1:39pm
    RESULT!

    Additional New Telephone Number for Holbrook Surgery, Horsham, West Sussex

    After patient feedback about our telephone number we have contacted our phone supplier who has provided us with an alternative 01403 number for patients to call. As this number does not have enhanced services you may experience the engaged tone at busy times, at which time you can try calling our existing telephone number 0844 815 1072.

    Our new additional number is: 01403 339818

    :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Sep 21st, 2013 at 2:27pm
    This is NOT a "result". This is still a breach of contract.

    To comply with the GMS Contract the number must be CHANGED to 01, 02, 030, 033 or 0344 and the 0844 number completely switched OFF.

    With an "alternative" number now available, but without "enhanced services" they have implemented a "two-tier" system where those who pay a premium for calling the 0844 number, receive a better service.

    These is NO place for this within the NHS.

    The GMS Contract is clear that the practice must ENSURE that patients do not pay more than the equivalent of calling an 01 or 02 number. With the 0844 number still running, those who accidentally call the 0844 number or who don't know about the new 01 number are still "paying more".


    Many of the practices adopting the "two-tier" system put out literature explaining the change and have a note that says that 0844 calls are 5p/min and 01 calls are 9p/min and fail to mention that many callers have inclusive calls to 01 numbers but not to 0844 numbers.

    I contend that after an "alternative" number is introduced, the vast majority of calls continue to go to the 0844 number. This is why the 0844 number must be completely taken out of service.

    According to the GMS Contract only an 01, 02 or 03 number is acceptable.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Sep 21st, 2013 at 2:54pm
    Well, it is a result for me and the missus, as over the last eighteen months we sadly, due to medical problems ,have had to be in touch with this surgery several times and now we can get in touch with them on a geographical number without it costing us.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Sep 21st, 2013 at 4:18pm

    sherbert wrote on Sep 21st, 2013 at 2:54pm:
    Well, it is a result for me and the missus, as over the last eighteen months we sadly, due to medical problems ,have had to be in touch with this surgery several times and now we can get in touch with them on a geographical number without it costing us.

    sherbert, I think you make a very valid point. Whilst the campaign is about points of principle — which are for the good of everyone — we are individuals and, particularly where one has incurred high charges in pursuit of healthcare, there is likely to be relief that it won't happen again.

    I must echo Ian G's sentiments that this isn't a result for the campaign and that it must carry on to victory.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Sep 21st, 2013 at 4:25pm

    Dave wrote on Sep 21st, 2013 at 4:18pm:

    sherbert wrote on Sep 21st, 2013 at 2:54pm:
    Well, it is a result for me and the missus, as over the last eighteen months we sadly, due to medical problems ,have had to be in touch with this surgery several times and now we can get in touch with them on a geographical number without it costing us.

    sherbert, I think you make a very valid point. Whilst the campaign is about points of principle — which are for the good of everyone — we are individuals and, particularly where one has incurred high charges in pursuit of healthcare, there is likely to be relief that it won't happen again.

    I must echo Ian G's sentiments that this isn't a result for the campaign and that it must carry on to victory.


    Thanks Dave. ;)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Sep 21st, 2013 at 5:28pm
    Sherbert

    I will add my hope, for your sake, that you are able to through to the surgery on the alternative number when you need to. Sadly, you have to hope that other patients will continue to ring the 0844 number, so that the single line alternative is not busy when you need it - this is a very ugly situation.

    This "two tier" approach is a breach of the fundamental principles of the NHS. The NHS provides the best care possible to all, on equal terms - without charge. (The charges that are authorised are subject to exemptions on the basis of need and ability to pay and set by parliament, not individual providers.) In this case it has been introduced as a way of distracting attention from a breach of a specific requirement to cease use of expensive numbers.

    Your surgery must not cause you to suffer an inferior service because you are unwilling to incur improper charges.

    Obviously, I wish you well and hope that you, and all other patients, are able to get through on the geographic number whenever you need to. This is however not what "choice" in the NHS can be about - paying for a normal service, with the option to take an inferior service without charge.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by sherbert on Sep 21st, 2013 at 5:37pm
    Thank you SCV  :)

    Title: 0845 Doctors Surgery's
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 5th, 2013 at 9:08am
    Good Morning David

    I hope you are keeping well,

    Just a quick message in regard to Doctors Surgeries, My local MP Dan Jarvis Barnsley Central appears to have dropped the ball in this regard although he says he has passed it on to one of his minions.

    Do you knnow the state of play?

    Baz

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 5th, 2013 at 2:42pm

    bazzerfewi wrote on Oct 5th, 2013 at 9:08am:
    Good Morning David

    I hope you are keeping well,

    Just a quick message in regard to Doctors Surgeries, My local MP Dan Jarvis Barnsley Central appears to have dropped the ball in this regard although he says he has passed it on to one of his minions.

    Do you know the state of play?

    Baz

    The ball is very firmly in the hands of NHS England, where there is some inter-passing going on at present, although moving towards the goal, with a well aiming shot being expected very shortly.

    A pitch-side report is expected to be published tomorrow in what is claimed to be the leading source for sports coverage.

    There have been a number of off-the-ball incidents recently and the video footage is being reviewed at present. Some of these may be covered by tomorrow's newspaper report.


    I will leave it there for now, with a promise that more will revealed (without sporting analogies) to add to whatever enters the public domain tomorrow.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Oct 6th, 2013 at 3:42pm
    Looks like bad weather postponed the match.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Oct 6th, 2013 at 4:32pm

    Ian G wrote on Oct 6th, 2013 at 3:42pm:
    Looks like bad weather postponed the match.

    No, the match is continuing in somewhat foggy conditions. The coverage was postponed until the commentator can get a clearer view of the pitch.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 8th, 2013 at 12:33pm
    YIPPEE as a follow on to my earlier post our local doctors at Monk Bretton have changed to a 0345 number I will post the entry on the database :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 23rd, 2013 at 10:53pm
    ONE MORE GIANT LEEP FOR SAYNO CAMPAIGN

    GOT THEM ON THE RUN!!!! :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Oct 24th, 2013 at 8:40am

    bazzerfewi wrote on Oct 23rd, 2013 at 10:53pm:
    ONE MORE GIANT LEEP FOR SAYNO CAMPAIGN


    The only definition of a "LEEP" I can find states "loop electrocautery excision procedure ".     :-?

    I suppose some sort of medical term is appropriate.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Oct 24th, 2013 at 8:46am
    [size=24][/size]Giant Leap!!!!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Nov 1st, 2013 at 5:57pm

    loddon wrote on Sep 9th, 2013 at 7:59am:

    idb wrote on May 3rd, 2013 at 1:54am:
    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/practice-income/nhs-england-to-crack-down-on-gp-use-of-0844-phone-numbers/20002813.article#commentsubmitted

    NHS England to crack down on GP use of 0844 phone numbers
    1 May 2013 | By Madlen Davies

    <<
    NHS England has announced it will crack down on GPs use of premium phone numbers, and has asked local area teams to identify practices still using them.


    Well, what are NHS England doing??????

    No news and no action from NHS England over all these months !!  :(     After a promising start in April and all this promise to take action we have seen nothing!!    About time NHS England show some results.   Are they going to turn out to be as ineffective and incompetent as their predecessors ??


    NHS England announced "it will crack down on GPs use of premium phone numbers", reported 1st May.

    Well, here we are SIX MONTHS later and what has NHS England achieved???   Square root of s-d all.    :( :o >:(

    They are as incompetent and ineffective as all the others!!!  >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Nov 2nd, 2013 at 3:02am
    I second that as usual these regulatory bodies have no teeth :) ;D it makes me :'(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 2nd, 2013 at 4:54am

    loddon wrote on Nov 1st, 2013 at 5:57pm:

    Well, here we are SIX MONTHS later and what has NHS England achieved???   Square root of s-d all.    :( :o >:(

    They are as incompetent and ineffective as all the others!!!  >:(

    As the fair telecoms campaign is working alongside NHS England on this issue, we must take our share of the blame for the time that it is taking for action to be initiated.

    The previous structure in place failed totally to secure compliance with the revised contractual terms. NHS England is very short of resources to handle its new role of directing these activities from the centre, in place of the network of autonomous PCTs, which could only be "guided" by the Department of Health.

    Whilst it is demonstrable that we have seen little effect during the 7 months that NHS England has existed, the PCTs had 7 years of guidance during which little or nothing was achieved. It may be premature to draw a conclusion of equivalent ineffectiveness. An accusation of incompetence can only relate to individual officers and the powers they hold. That is not something that I like to see written, unless it can be specific and sustained by evidence.

    Of course we are all frustrated by the fact that the changes we seek happen only slowly. I have to part company with those who are only interested in that which can be achieved quickly, as it is far too limited for my wishes.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Nov 2nd, 2013 at 9:47am
    Well in reply to SilentVictim, I don't understand all the politics but all I know is that we are on the right track. Most of the doctors in Barnsley are now using 03 or 01 numbers.

    The Telco's are now conning the surgeries as far as I can make out, they are using multiple 03 numbers for differant sites when they are in the same practice, I am sure one 03 number will do the service in a more efficient way.

    Anyway as I say I am only a novice.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 8:51am
    The Sunday Mirror is reporting that NHS England is going to ban GPs from using 0844 rip-off phone numbers:---

    The headline states :---

    "GPs to be banned from using costly phone lines"

    "This week NHS England will order GPs to get rid of the expensive lines, which cost up to 41p a minute from a mobile, and switch to local numbers."

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/personal-finance/gps-banned-using-rip-off-phonelines-2670713



    Similar headlines were seen in September 2009 which stated that 0844 numbers were banned but it didn't happen :---

    "Whitehall pulls the plug on GPs' costly 0845 phone lines "

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213223/Whitehall-pulls-plug-GPs-costly-0845-phone-lines.html


    Let us hope that this report is accurate and let us see how quickly NHS England require GPs to get off their rip-off numbers.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 12:07pm
    The following tweet may be shared with those who are interested in this story.

    https://twitter.com/DH_fairtelecoms/status/396966900963737600

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 4:30pm
    Yes, I have followed the story and I commend the Daily Mail for reporting it. I must point out at this stage however that David Riley is in business to turn a profit all he did was to market an alternative for doctors. In my view his company "Daisy Chane" has sold a product and the fault is with the doctors and the practice managers because they did not carry out due diligance and their greed took over.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 9:08pm
    If we are to refer to "due diligence" then we had best check our spelling, as well as references to "the Daily Mail," "David Riley" and "Daisy Chane".

    If the alternative of a 0844 number had been marketed on the basis that it provided a subsidy through a Service Charge on the caller equivalent to between 5p and 7p per minute, as well as a premium Access Charge of up to 36p per minute, then we might find less cause to criticise Mr Riley. Likewise, if the option of switching to a geographic rate number, whilst retaining the Surgery Line system, had been promoted during the 12 months that were made available for existing customers to make the switch. Furthermore, if the use of 084 number had ceased once it was clear that doing so would place practices in breach of their NHS contracts. And yet again, if the option of providing a "two tier" NHS service had not been pressed as being an acceptable solution.

    As GPs possess the commercial knowledge and skills necessary to lead CCGs, managing the bulk of the NHS budget in negotiation with multinational healthcare companies, one would have thought that seeing through any misrepresentation involved with something so modest as a surgery telephone system would be child's play for them. Let us hope that they will be able to put this acknowledged skill to work in securing good deals when they have to meet the full cost of their telephone systems, without the benefit of subsidy at the expense of patients.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 10:46pm
    "Chain"

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 10:53pm
    "Matt" ? "Sunday Mirror" ? "dilig…"?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Nov 4th, 2013 at 8:10pm
    Coverage of the developing news story can be followed on the fair telecoms campaign news feed.

    A version with selection options, in beta test, is available at http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/news-feed-selected.html.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by speedy on Nov 5th, 2013 at 3:21am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 3rd, 2013 at 9:08pm:
    As GPs possess the commercial knowledge and skills necessary to lead CCGs, managing the bulk of the NHS budget in negotiation with multinational healthcare companies, one would have thought that seeing through any misrepresentation involved with something so modest as a surgery telephone system would be child's play for them. Let us hope that they will be able to put this acknowledged skill to work in securing good deals when they have to meet the full cost of their telephone systems, without the benefit of subsidy at the expense of patients.


    Well done fairtelecoms for all the work lighting the straight and narrow.

    Lets hope the GPs' in the CCGs understand that in the 'Business World' that when a salesman says that the 'Moon will be green every Monday' it ain't necessarily true. 

    Afterall you wouldn't ask a GP to diagnose a knock in your engine (car) or a Mechanic to diagnose a heart rhythm, both engines but very different.

    We have already found the old PCTs have given Contracts to companys like NSL Care Services using 0843 numbers and the new Area Teams are letting the Contracts go live apparently without querying why these also expensive numbers are being used for Patient Transport for NHS Hospital Services.

    Hopefully someone will be knocking on relavant doors to get those 0843 numbers shifted very soon.

    Lets hope we are wrong in our loss of confidence that our NHS is 'safe in their hands'  :-/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:13am
    At the beginning of November 2013 announced that :---

    "We expect our area teams to ... make sure appropriate action is taken wherever GPs are not making this a priority.”

    "NHS England will, through its area teams, continue to monitor GPs’ progress ..."


    http://www.england.nhs.uk/2013/11/04/gps-084-num/

    Two months have elapsed since that announcement following a great deal of publicity leading up to it and following years of agonising about the problem after use of such numbers were banned by the NHS in 2010;  yet I have not heard of one single GP moving away from their 0844 during the past two months !!! >:(

    This is totally unacceptable as a giant organisation like Natwest Bank proved it can be done swiftly when they announced that they would abandon 08 numbers and actually did it by moving to 03 numbers within two weeks!!!

    How in hell are the GPs being allowed to get away with it again???

    What are NHS England actually doing???

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Dave on Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:46pm

    loddon wrote on Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:13am:
    Two months have elapsed since that announcement following a great deal of publicity leading up to it and following years of agonising about the problem after use of such numbers were banned by the NHS in 2010;  yet I have not heard of one single GP moving away from their 0844 during the past two months !!! >:(

    Bankfield Surgery changed its number back to a geographic one on 12 December, as the message on the home page says.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Dec 30th, 2013 at 6:09pm

    Dave wrote on Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:46pm:
    [url=http://www.bankfieldsurgery.org.uk/]Bankfield Surgery[/url] changed its number back to a geographic one on 12 December, as the message on the home page says.


    Thanks Dave, good news indeed, at last.

    Only 749 to go.   ;) :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jan 27th, 2014 at 9:31am
    NHS England continue to drag their feet and show their incompetence and ineffectiveness.   Here we are near the end of January, another month gone and still NO ACTION FROM NHS ENGLAND.

    The Which? "conversation" continues to run and today another patient says she is running out of patience because her GP continues to rip her off with an 0844 number :---

    http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/expensive-gp-phone-numbers-nhs-premium-0844-number/

    "Author: Patient 1
    Comment:
    I am sick and tired of my GP surgery still using the 08444 number. I have asked them a number of times, over a 2 year period, when they will stop and they say they are looking into the matter.

    Both my landline and mobile contracts allow my to phone standard 01 and 02 numbers free of charge and I guess many peoples do, so why is it taking surgeries so long to resolve this issue, surely all they need to do is either revert to the old number or install another 01 or 02 number so that patients have the choice.

    My surgery ask that if you are unable to attend your appointment that you ring to cancel which I used to adhere to, however now that I am being well and truly changed for the privilege, I don't bother so sadly appointments are going wasted."


    See all comments on this post here:
    http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/expensive-gp-phone-numbers-nhs-premium-0844-number/#comments



    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jan 27th, 2014 at 9:56am
    And now this comment on the Which? "conversation" :---

    http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/expensive-gp-phone-numbers-nhs-premium-0844-number/

    Author: smw
    Comment:
    My GP, Forest Hill Road Group Practice, has added a geographic 02 number to their existing 0844 number but warn that since this is a single line not part of their system it is likely to be difficult to get through! They say they will keep the costly system until their contract ends in the autumn. Having been there this morning it looks like the notice with the 02 number is no longer on display!


    GPs continue to treat NHS England with disdain as though they are irrelevant and to abuse patients and treat them as fodder for their rip-off shenanigans.   Utterly disgusting.  >:( >:(

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jan 29th, 2014 at 11:29am
    A dreadful example of the intransigence, untruthfulness  and arrogance of some GPs emerges in Coventry; see this story :---

    "Bell Green doctor's surgery to change expensive phone number after councillor blasts charges
    "
    http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/doctors-surgery-coventry-pledges-change-6555024

    "Dr Grant Ingrams, senior partner at Crossley Practice, denied the phone line was a money-spinner - and said they were planning to go back to an 024 number.

    He is adamant the practice never received a penny.

    He said: “We have identified a solution which will allow us to go back to an 024 number. But it is going to take some time
    ."

    The GP denies that there has been any financial benefit to the practice and that it will take some time to revert to a geo number, both statements are not credible.

    Well done to Councillor Thomas for taking the matter up.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Jan 29th, 2014 at 11:47am
    For a long time these GPs were deliberately misled over the call costs and the details of the inbuilt revenue sharing. Some still do not understand the mechanics of the deal they signed up to. It's a difficult position for a professional to stand up and admit they may have been misled.

    There are some that are still under the impression they need to cancel their telephone services contract and pay huge penalty fees in order to change their number. This is not true and was confirmed by the system supplier more than six months ago.

    While many GPs have got rid of 0844 numbers over the last few months, a few have installed a geographic number on a single line and kept the 0844 number running. This is still a breach of the GMS Contract. The NHS does not offer two levels of service based on ability to pay.

    All 0844 numbers should be completely removed. Adding a geographic number in parallel is not a reasonable solution. It does not prevent patients from incurring high call charges because many may continue using the 0844 number especially if they find the geographic number is engaged.

    The same story a few days earlier:
    http://www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2014/01/21/news-Bell-Green-doctors-slammed-over-0844-number-use-94957.html
    http://www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2014/01/23/news-Bell-Green-doctors-slammed-over-0844-number-use-94957.html
    (small revision made on the 23rd).

    I see no mention of a change to an 03 number. Having recently been told that 03 numbers are very expensive to run, a quick bit of research finds a number of deals with 10 hours of incoming calls per day for 10 pounds per week.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jan 29th, 2014 at 3:39pm

    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 11:47am:
        For a long time these GPs were deliberately misled over the call costs and the details of the inbuilt revenue sharing. Some still do not understand the mechanics of the deal they signed up to. It's a difficult position for a professional to stand up and admit they may have been misled.

    Strange that such professionals can be so misled over such a basic thing whilst they profess to be highly educated and of some general intelligence, if not better, and many demonstrate their interest in wider non-medical matters by going into politics .   


    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 11:47am:
    There are some that are still under the impression they need to cancel their telephone services contract and pay huge penalty fees in order to change their number. This is not true and was confirmed by the system supplier more than six months ago.

    Once the errors of their ways have been pointed out one would think they would be anxious to correct them as quickly as possible, to protect the reputation of their profession at the least, but surprisingly they show great tardiness and reluctance to act and even do further damage to their image by telling untruths and parroting spurious and specious information to excuse their inactivity.  What a shower!


    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 11:47am:
    While many GPs have got rid of 0844 numbers over the last few months ...... 

    Would you care the list all these many GPs?




    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Jan 29th, 2014 at 5:10pm
    I contend that the price of 0844 phone calls is not such a "basic" thing. In fact it is a very complicated thing, with many facets that are not openly stated by Ofcom nor by suppliers of these numbers. The multiple price bands, the "NTS Condition", revenue sharing, the false claims about "local" and "national" rate, the fact that some providers charge different amounts for different numbers in step with the Service Charge variation while others add a variable mark-up to inflate the call price for all numbers with the same prefix up to a fixed level, and many other things are not well understood and conspire to confuse. If this was all "basic" stuff Ofcom would not have spent the last couple of years battling various providers in order to produce and introduce a completely new and much more transparent system. Indeed, in recent reading of the websites of some of the sellers it is as if they themselves do not understand the product they are flogging.

    The number of non-compliant GPs has reduced but there is still a long way to go.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by loddon on Jan 29th, 2014 at 6:38pm

    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 5:10pm:
      I contend that the price of 0844 phone calls ... is a very complicated thing, ...... are not well understood and conspire to confuse.
       

    It is apparent that the phone service industry has conspired over recent years to deliberately mislead and confuse consumers about the true costs of many number ranges.   However, any moderately intelligent person, even a doctor, can get a pretty good idea of the true costs merely by looking at their own phone bills or tariffs.  It wouldn't then take much more effort to realise that it would be a very bad idea to adopt 0844.   Indeed, the vast majority of GPs, to their credit, never did adopt 0844 and some very clearly stated they would never consider using 0844.


    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 5:10pm:
    If this was all "basic" stuff Ofcom would not have spent the last couple of years battling various providers in order to produce and introduce a completely new and much more transparent system.


    Ofcom's difficulties have all been of their own making and a reluctance to take positive action to protect consumers from harm.   Ofcom and its predecessors allowed the situation to become confused and allowed operators to exploit the confusion at the expense of consumers.   Ofcom showed it had the power to act when it banned revenue sharing on 0870 numbers as it felt under pressure from this website and various campaigners and the growing exploitative reputation of 0870.   Ofcom simultaneously showed their incompetence and inadequacy by not at that time imposing controls on the costs of 0870 calls and failing to ban revenue sharing on the other 08 numbers, leading to a mass migration from 0870 onto 0844, 0871 and 0843.   

    Ofcom consultations over the past 4 years have all been about finding a way, which will take yet another 18 months, to limit the levels of exploitation by tinkering with the regulations and submitting to the pressures from within the industry in order, as Ofcom expresses it " to reinvigorate " the market for 084 and 087 numbers whilst preserving the unethical practice of revenue sharing.   Ironically, this intention has been seriously undermined by the EU's CRD which will be implemented in the UK by June this year and is seen to be already causing major business defections from the 084 range onto 03 and geo numbers.


    Ian G wrote on Jan 29th, 2014 at 5:10pm:
    The number of non-compliant GPs has reduced but there is still a long way to go.


    As requested before please let us know exactly how many GPs have fully abandoned 0844 in recent months.   As far as I can recall only one has been reported so far on this Forum.   There are said to be 699 within England using 0844 at present.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Jan 30th, 2014 at 11:27am
    Here's the complete list of 0844 users held by Google. It obviously includes some of those that have recently stopped using (because Google doesn't immediately turn up and re-index a page right after they change their phone number):

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+0844 (25/478)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+08443 (0/21)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+08444 (16/81)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+08445 (2/7)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+08447 (9/9)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx+08448 (0/4)

    There are now 600 GP practices listed, however many of those in the last five lists are duplicates of those in the first list. Previously there were over a thousand entries. Hundreds have started advertising an 01 or 02 number in recent months and have already dropped off the list. There are also likely to be some pages that have been updated but which Google has not yet re-indexed, and some practices that have changed their number but haven't yet updated their website entry.

    Of the 600 still listed, at least 52 no longer advertise an 0844 number. Those are the entries where no 0844 number is shown in the snippet (they are often at or near the end of the list). Click through to the listed web page and you'll see the new geographic number. Those entries will also shortly drop off Google's list. There's a noticeable reduction over the last few months, but there's still a long way to go.

    Exact numbers are impossible to judge, but perhaps somewhere around 500 or a bit under now?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Feb 21st, 2014 at 6:37am
    A freedom of information disclosure shows Handsworth Medical Centre, in Handsworth Avenue, Highams Park, makes nearly £500 a month from its 0844 number.

    Full story here:

    http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/11025627.Patients_subsidise_surgery_costs_through_premium_rate_line/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Mar 4th, 2014 at 5:44am
    MP putting pressure on surgery to change.

    http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/11048789.Frank_Field_demands_GP_surgery_drops_its__rip_off__premium_rate_phone_number/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bazzerfewi on Mar 4th, 2014 at 6:52am
    What a load of rubbi sh! Gordon Brown addressed the prior to the 2010 election, he outlawed the use of premium rate numbers then. How can the practice manager say that they were not aware of procedure WHAT A LOW OF ROT!!


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Mar 5th, 2014 at 10:13am
    http://www.nhs.uk/Services/GP/ReviewsAndRatings/DefaultView.aspx?id=41121&SortType=1


    Quote:
    [quote]Prime rate telephone number?

    Bit of a money spinner? Kept waiting on this very expensive number (so far 9 minutes). The elderly wouldn't be aware. It is disgraceful.Really don't expect this from a doctor.

    Visited in February 2014. Posted on 20 February 2014


    The Law Medical Group Practice replied on 05 March 2014
    Thank you for your comment. We apologise that you have had a negative experience of the practice, and were kept waiting on the telephone. We do advertise the cost at the beginning of the telephone call, and also provide alternative methods of contacting the practice such as via letter, online or walking in. There are a number of advantages to patients in having on 0844 number, such as no engaged/busy tone, and the feature to have different options for the call. We appreciate that the cost of a call can be expensive, and are currently looking into alternatives to the 0844 number, although it must be appreciated that the practice is involved in a contract with our telephone provider. We would again like to remind yourself and our other patients of the alternative methods of contact, and also that the practice never hesitates to contact patients on both mobiles and landlines, despite the cost. The practice is also constantly looking into ways to reduce wait times on the telephone and improve our service, and we hope that you have a more positive experience next time.[/quote]
    Posted by the practice today. Trotting out the same old garbage.

    They are the subject of this newspaper article two weeks ago: http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/patients_charged_premium_rate_to_call_two_gp_surgeries_in_brent_1_3341652

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Mar 5th, 2014 at 10:51am

    Ian G wrote on Mar 5th, 2014 at 10:13am:
    Trotting out the same old garbage.


    Ian with respect I don't think using those terms helps the situation in any way shape of from...

    Perhaps encouraging the surgery to at least provide an alternative number, while they seek to amend their contract, would be a better start?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Mar 5th, 2014 at 11:38am
    Signing up for an alternative telephone number, one that becomes redundant as soon as the practice migrates their main telephone number from 084 to 03, is not a particularly good solution.

    Migrating the 084 number to an 03 number (making the practice compliant) takes about the same amount of time as activating an alternative number (leaving the practice in a non-compliant position).

    They appear to not know, or choose to ignore, that the same call facilities are available on an 0344 number as on an 0844 number, and that they can move to the matching 0344 number by making one simple phone call to their provider to action it without incurring a penalty fee on their telephone services contract or equipment lease.

    Four months have elapsed since they received a letter from NHS England busting some myths and asking them to "explain their plans for swiftly moving away from the use of an 084 numbner".

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Mar 5th, 2014 at 4:37pm
    Now Ian, you see that was a much more informative post than saying there were "trotting out garbage"

    so they are for whatever reason dragging their heels in getting it changed over...

    perhaps they need reminding then?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Mar 14th, 2014 at 7:33pm
    Our old friends Daisy of Doctor,s Phone Systems and 0844 fame are subject to a take over bid by the parent company of Virgin Media.

    http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/news/industry/28728/daisy_subject_of_500m-plus_bid_by_liberty_global.aspx

    Title: Re: Doctors Surgeries
    Post by Metal Marky on Mar 18th, 2014 at 3:00pm

    jrawle wrote on Dec 16th, 2008 at 2:38pm:
    From a scrolling message on their website:


    Quote:
    From 18.3.2008 we are changing our telephone number to 0844 576 9200.  We do not have an answering machine so you cannot leave a message. If you  try to get local rates by not dialing (01773) the prefix  and direct dialing 576 9200, the call does not come to Whitemoor Medical Centre.  This is a  phone number to a home in Heage.  Whitemoor Medical Centre was formerly Green Lane Surgery.


    It doesn't quite make sense. Was the code 01773 before they switched? Whoever lives at that house has an extra reason to be annoyed by the surgery's switch to rip-off numbers. The message also implicitly admits that the 0844 number is expensive to call.

    Do you have the number they had before they switched to 0844, so I can avoid "finding" it if it doesn't work any more?

    I did find two recent job adverts (October, so after they switched in March) and it gives the number 01773 881148 for people to apply for the job. You could try that as see if they will put you through, or you can at least complain - it might be the practice manager or someone similar. The only references are for jobs at this medical centre, so it isn't a job agency.

    It seems there is only one other surgery in the area that uses 0844. The others use local numbers. Ultimately the answer might be to change doctor. After all, the practices are run as businesses these days, so if you aren't happy, take your custom elsewhere.


    If you want to make an automated booking using a local number with Whitemoor Medical Centre in Belper, call 01773 881142.  You can press options to talk to a receptionist too.  I would guess, but haven't tried, that somewhere between 881142 and 881148 is the local number that gets you through to the repeat prescription number too.  I'll let someone else try that!

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Jun 25th, 2014 at 5:49am

    bigjohn wrote on Feb 21st, 2014 at 6:37am:
    A freedom of information disclosure shows Handsworth Medical Centre, in Handsworth Avenue, Highams Park, makes nearly £500 a month from its 0844 number.

    Full story here:

    http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/11025627.Patients_subsidise_surgery_costs_through_premium_rate_line/


    The surgery has now got themselves a 020 3  number.

    See http://www.handsworthmedicalpractice.com/

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian G on Jun 25th, 2014 at 7:45am
    That's the story from February.  There was an update yesterday.

    http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/11297112.Doctor_s_surgery_reverts_back_to_local_rate_number/

    This is as originally published at 2:00pm

    Quote:
    East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Doctor's surgery reverts back to local rate number

    2:00pm Tuesday 24th June 2014
    in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series
    By Natalie Glanvill

    It was revealed earlier this year that patients were subsidising Handsworth Medical Centre costs through the use of a premium rate line.

    A doctor's surgery has announced it has reverted back to a local rate number after patients spent two years being charged to phone a premium rate line.

    Earlier this year, the Guardian revealed patients using the 0844 number were subsidising phone bill costs at Handsworth Medical Centre in Handsworth Avenue, Highams Park.

    The practice was making almost £500 a month since it was introduced in March 2012 following recommendations by the British Medical Association.

    At the time of taking out the five-year contract with telecom provider NEG, now known as Surgery Line, practice manager Josie Camplin said the surgery had been "misled" about the "true cost" to patients.

    As an interim measure, a local rate number was introduced in parallel to the 0844 number as Ms Camplin looked at ways of moving away from the 0844 number costing patients a minimum of 4p a minute.

    To date, the £475 a month subsidy had generated over £10,000 and the contract was due to expire in March 2017 but a meeting with Surgery Line was held in March this year.

    As of June 16, the surgery reverted back to a local rate telephone number of 0203 006 9216.

    In may 2013, NHS England announced it will crack down on GPs use of premium phone numbers and threaten them with breach of contract notices if they cannot prove they are doing all they can to stop using the premium rate numbers.

    The practice has been contacted for a comment.

    Related links
    * Meeting over surgery premium rate line
    * Patients subsidise surgery costs through premium rate line

    The story was amended in several places an hour later.

    Title: Re: Handsworth Medical Centre
    Post by bigjohn on Jun 25th, 2014 at 9:12am
    I know it was a story from Feb i posted article originally. ;)

    I was just pointing out they were now using a geographical number,which i had noticed on website.Which they had not done before.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by bigjohn on Jul 26th, 2014 at 4:08am
    Three Barking and Dagenham GP surgeries still using 0844.

    http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/patients_face_calling_premium_rate_lines_to_ring_three_barking_and_dagenham_gp_surgeries_1_3674145

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 30th, 2014 at 8:58pm
    Members and visitors may be interested to note that a newly published list of the 350 surgeries still shown by NHS Choices to be in breach of their NHS contracts is exciting some media interest, including a radio item scheduled for tomorrow lunchtime.

    See the fair telecoms campaign newsfeed for details of the story and links to coverage as it arises.

    [edit]Error in posting corrected[/edit]

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by kasg on Jul 30th, 2014 at 9:13pm
    The URL has a spurious character in so doesn't work. Fixed, thanks.

    Title: Greater Manchester Doctors Still Using 0844.
    Post by bigjohn on Sep 21st, 2014 at 4:49am
    "A dozen surgeries in Greater Manchester are using premium 0844 numbers that can cost patients up to 41p a minute from a mobile phone"

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/premium-rate-numbers-how-ringing-7781722

    Title: Two more Surgeries move from 0844 to 02 numbers
    Post by bigjohn on Dec 23rd, 2014 at 8:29pm
    See: http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/gp_practice_in_brent_axes_premium_rate_phone_numbers_1_3884978

    Title: Millions Of Patients Still Being Ripped Off.
    Post by bigjohn on May 10th, 2015 at 6:19am
    A total of 180 surgeries are continuing to use expensive numbers five years after being ordered to stop


    See: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/millions-patients-still-being-ripped-off-5670691

    Good to see David H and the other Fair Telecoms Campaign guys keeping the pressure on. :)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on May 10th, 2015 at 8:26am

    "Calls to the surgery incur a 7p per minute Service Charge on top of your phone provider's Access Charge".

    Whatever happened to "free at the point of need"?

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by FordPrefect on May 15th, 2015 at 4:21pm
    Clayton Medical Centre in Clayton-le-Moors has just changed from 08444771761 to 01254-300250.
    My mother is one over 30 patients in a care home all being cared for by this doctor and they ring most days apparently. The manager of the care home is understandably rather pleased(!)

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Jul 17th, 2015 at 2:12pm

    CJT-80 wrote on Dec 31st, 2012 at 6:28pm:

    catj wrote on Dec 30th, 2012 at 3:34am:
    Hmm.  The surgery is on Twitter:  @belmonthillgp  https://twitter.com/belmonthillgp


    Latest Tweet encourages patients to get involved in the Patient Participation Group, perhaps anyone who visits or uses this site, may be interested to join and to work with the surgery to scrap it's 0844 number?

    Best to work on the inside if you can.

    :)

    ** edited to add a W to Tweet **  ;D


    Sorry to drag this one back up, but ironically since moving back to London this is now my local Surgery and I am a member of the PPG.  Suffice to say the Surgery realised how it had been conned and is doing it's best to get shot of the 084 number as soon as it's out of contract.

    Did someone say previously that there was a way to get an 034 number instead?  Please feel free to comment here or PM me with more info.

    Thanks.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on Jul 17th, 2015 at 2:18pm

    They need to contact their telecoms provider and ask for the matching 0344 number to be activated and a free-to-caller message added to the 0844 number advising of the new number. Alternatively, they can request a new 030 number.

    This is the 'reasonable step' that their GMS or PMS contract required them to take by 1 April 2011.

    This change should not generate any penalty charges on their telecoms contract. Once the change has been made, the practice will become liable for the call handling charges for incoming calls and paying off the lease for switchboard equipment that may have come as part of the deal.

    Adding a cheap number in parallel to the 0844 number is not an option. There is no place in the NHS for a two-tier service based on willingness or ability to pay.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 17th, 2015 at 2:30pm
    It seems that this practice has a contract with Daisy (formerly NEG) and uses the Surgery Line system.

    We have repeatedly published the following statement from the Senior Press Officer of Daisy Group (issued on 12 June 2013)

    Quote:
    1.      Surgery Line customers are NOT forced to continue using 0844 numbers until their long-term contracts end - it is open to them to move to a geographic number on request
    2.      Such customers can switch, free of charge, to numbers charged at the geographic rate

    It was subsequently confirmed that this was a reference to switching their 0844 number - not simply adding a second number alongside.

    That is good enough for me. It is however for the practice to make the necessary request, or be compelled to do so by whoever enforces compliance with the terms of its NHS contract - originally the PCT, then NHS England, now commonly the CCG of which it is a member.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Jul 17th, 2015 at 4:53pm
    Thank you SCV for that info.

    I will pass it onto the Surgery.

    I know they have a Geographic Number, but it is alongside the existing 084 number.  I will point out to them that they can request the 084 number be changed.

    Many Thanks.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Sep 18th, 2015 at 10:50am

    SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 17th, 2015 at 2:30pm:
    It seems that this practice has a contract with Daisy (formerly NEG) and uses the Surgery Line system.

    We have repeatedly published the following statement from the Senior Press Officer of Daisy Group (issued on 12 June 2013)

    Quote:
    1.      Surgery Line customers are NOT forced to continue using 0844 numbers until their long-term contracts end - it is open to them to move to a geographic number on request
    2.      Such customers can switch, free of charge, to numbers charged at the geographic rate

    It was subsequently confirmed that this was a reference to switching their 0844 number - not simply adding a second number alongside.


    Further to this post, I have reason to believe that Daisy Group CAN change the telephone number without any charge to an 020 number, however (and this is not a justification of the use of the 0844 number) any surgery that simply changes to a Geographic number looses the queueing facility.  Clearly this is NEG/Daisy's "fault", as the telecom's provider, in making sure they get maximum revenue out of the contract which they provided to the GP Practice. 

    I am sure there are other methods of retaining the queueing facility but not without additional costs involved.

    It would therefore be reasonable to suggest that a Surgery would inform it's patients (especially those who call in) that they will no longer be able to hold to speak to someone and will now get an engaged tone, before it then confirms the changes to NEG/Daisy Group.

    Important Note

    The purpose of this post is to highlight that not all GP Surgeries are at fault in presently retaining these numbers, they maybe in active conversation with their Telecoms Provider and are attempting to make the necessary changes to benefit their patients (will cheaper call charges) whilst still giving them the ability to get through easily.
    ----------------------------

    All of the above is my opinion on this situation.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on Sep 18th, 2015 at 11:38am

    The problem is, they were required by an amendment to their GMS or PMS contract to have this conversation in the period April 2010 to March 2011 and withdraw any 084 numbers by 1 April 2011. Similarly, any usage of 087 and 09 numbers should have ceased in 2005.

    The technical facilities of a non-geographic number (queueing, menu options, announcements and call-forwarding) have to be paid for. This is often in the range 1p to 2p per minute for calls forwarded to a UK landline and a bit more if calls are forwarded to a UK mobile. Non-geographic numbers begin 03, 08 or 09 and all offer the same technical facilities. The difference comes in who pays for them.

    With 084, 087 and 09 numbers the call-handling and call-forwarding costs are paid for by callers through the imposition of a declared Service Charge (with any remainder being available as revenue share either as a cash payment or as a discount off other telephony services or used to pay off a lease for e.g. switchboard equipment).

    With 03 and 080 numbers the call-handling and call-forwarding costs are paid for by the called party. This is the arrangement that customer service, public services and healthcare providers should be using.

    Providers of non-geographic numbers offer number migration facilities within the lifetime of a telephone services contract as long as the funding arrangements are adapted to cover the loss of subsidy when moving from a number with a Service Charge to one without. The most obvious and simple migration is from a number starting 084 or 087 to the matching number starting 034 or 037.

    While standard landlines do not have the advanced facilities that are available on a non-geographic number it is possible to obtain a 'virtual geographic number' starting 01 or 02 that behaves like a non-geographic number and has all the same facilities and which forwards the calls to a normal landline or mobile in the same way as non-geographic calls are forwarded. Call-handling and call-forwarding costs incurred by the called party are the same as for the 03 option.

    One final point on costs. With 080 numbers the called party also pays an additional Call Origination Fee to compensate the caller's landline or mobile provider for the fact the caller paid nothing for the call. This fee is around 2p per minute for incoming calls made from landlines and around 5p per minute for incoming calls made from mobiles. For incoming calls made from BT payphones, this fee is around 80p per minute.

    GPs have had more than five years to make these changes. The deadline for doing so expired more than four years ago. There can be no excuse for this delay, especially given that NHS England sent out a letter almost two years ago busting various myths that practices were using as excuses for remaining non-compliant.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Sep 18th, 2015 at 12:15pm
    I am not in anyway disputing that they should have already made the changes, but I feel that there has been an increased emphasis on "beating" the surgeries who still have these numbers. 

    I am sure that certainly surgeries that I have involvement with are doing their best to resolve a situation that they have clearly previous walked into blind.

    It's a clearly difficult catch 22 situation, which while it appears "easy" to resolve it is far from easy.

    I fully support the need to only be charged a geographic rate to speak to a GP/Hospital/Dentist or similar healthcare related service.  I was simply highlighting the issues that may be faced by a surgery making those changes.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by allegro on Sep 19th, 2015 at 7:49am
    I would respectfully disagree with some of the points made by CJT-80. GP surgeries have had almost 5 years since the deadline for making the change to basic rate (01/02/03) numbers. That is ample time for any organisation or company. One of the problems is that there been no effective enforcement or penalty for the worst offenders.  We have had to rely largely on publicising the offenders. While this is worthwhile and useful it is clear, at least in retrospect, that some form of genuine penalty was needed.

    Thankfully virtually all GPs have now complied. At least I hope they have. I wonder how many are still delinquent.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on Sep 19th, 2015 at 9:57am

    GPs were banned from entering into new contracts with 084 numbers in April 2010, but many more continued to sign up for another three years. The last were in April 2013. The contract is usually five or seven years long.

    The government recently stated that they will do little more than monitor those still using 084 numbers to ensure they do not renew those contracts as they come to an end over the next five years.
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-06-30.5038.h

    Using details published on practice websites, the list of non-compliant GPs in England can be found here:
    http://www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/uploads/1/1/4/5/11456053/nhs_england_gp_websites.pdf
    The danger is that other practices have removed the 084 number from their website, but it remains operational and it continues to be called by patients who have always rung that number.

    There are a number of GP practices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still using 084 or 087 numbers as well as NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 and various hospital or ambulance trusts and a number of NHS dentists. There are also a few 'specialist' NHS helplines, e.g. quit smoking, etc, still using various 084 and 087 numbers.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by allegro on Sep 20th, 2015 at 9:39am
    Am I being cynical or is Ofcom utterly useless here. With the introduction of the access charge /service charge system plus legislation on allowble numbers for customer support it has made 084 and 087 numbers effectively unavailable for most purposes. It has also killed off their legitimate use for "dial through" services.

    A good regulator that genuinely believed in the interests of the us, the poor general public, would have simply abolished all premium rates except for 09. So simple that they couldn't think of it. Or were too much in the pockets of vested interests to have the b*lls to do it.

    Rant over for now.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on Sep 20th, 2015 at 10:41am

    All over the internet are thousands of calls to 'ban all 084 and 087 numbers'. A five-pronged approach to the various issues, by DoH, BIS, CO, FCA and Ofcom has eventually led us almost to that situation.

    GP practices and NHS bodies, post-sales helplines used by retailers, traders and passenger transport companies, helplines used by government departments, their agencies and 'other bodies across the public sector landscape' and phone lines used by financial services including banks and insurance companies must use numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. Ofcom requires that all remaining usage of 084, 087 or 09 numbers (such as by chargeable services that are paid for as the call is being made, and by sales and enquiry lines used by companies that charge callers extra when they phone up to buy something) must be accompanied by a declaration of the applicable Service Charge.

    It is now clear that all 084, 087 and 09 numbers are premium rate. The premium is the Service Charge paid to the benefit of the called party and their telecoms provider. It is also clear that these numbers should be used only to provide a chargeable service paid for as the call is being made.

    An attempt on an outright ban on all 084 and 087 numbers and immediate closure of these number ranges would have seen Ofcom in court and losing the case. Instead, this has had to be done in measured and well-reasoned steps. It has also had to involve other regulators. The eventual outcome will be much the same.



    International dial-through providers exploited a feature of 084, 087 and 09 call pricing that applied only to calls made from BT landlines (and from landline providers that copied BT's rates even though it made no financial sense to do so).

    For more than a decade, an obscure Ofcom regulation called the 'NTS Retail Condition' required BT to make zero margin on call origination to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers. This meant that of whatever you paid BT for the call, almost all of it was passed on and paid to the benefit of the terminating telecoms provider. In the case of international dial-through providers, they used this revenue to pay the cost of forwarding the call to an international destination. Other landline and mobile provider's retail call prices were not restricted in this way, they were allowed to make margin on call origination. The same call made from another landline would cost at least several pence per minute more than calling from a BT landline and from mobiles would likely cost a lot more, typically 30p to 40p per minute.

    The ending of this rule is what has led to BT increasing the call cost. BT can now make margin on originating these calls, but must declare their part of the call cost as their Access Charge - as must all landline and mobile providers. BT's Access Charge is 10.24p per minute. Other landline providers charge between 2p and 12p per minute. Mobile providers charge between 5p and 45p per minute.

    Calling an international dial-through provider on an 084, 087 or 09 number from a BT landline is now as expensive as calling from some other landline. For a long time, most international dial-through providers have offered an alternative 020, 03 or 080 number for non-BT landline and all mobile users to call. BT customers now also need to use that option.


    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by CJT-80 on Sep 21st, 2015 at 9:33pm

    allegro wrote on Sep 19th, 2015 at 7:49am:
    I would respectfully disagree with some of the points made by CJT-80. GP surgeries have had almost 5 years since the deadline for making the change to basic rate (01/02/03) numbers. That is ample time for any organisation or company. One of the problems is that there been no effective enforcement or penalty for the worst offenders.  We have had to rely largely on publicising the offenders. While this is worthwhile and useful it is clear, at least in retrospect, that some form of genuine penalty was needed.

    Thankfully virtually all GPs have now complied. At least I hope they have. I wonder how many are still delinquent.


    I actually agree with your points, I was trying to point out that not everything to do with these numbers and there use is black and white.  I do not wish to go into specifics but I have been in contact with my local surgery in regards to them dropping their 0844 number altogether.

    If we lived in an ideal world such numbers wouldn't exist and we would all be able to make calls that are always inclusive.  Sadly and ultimately the telecoms industry has been allowed to run and rule itself and now were are faced with a range of expensive numbers, but we are told how much they cost to ring....

    I am concerned this will go off topic, so I will stop there.

    Title: Re: GPs all over England (not just in South Yorkshire)
    Post by Ian01 on Jan 10th, 2016 at 4:22pm

    The number of NHS GPs using 084 or 087 numbers continues to fall. The number of NHS Trusts using these numbers seems to be static. Whether the number of NHS dentists, NHS opticians and NHS pharmacies using these numbers is going up or down is unknown. A number of other NHS services also continue to use these numbers.

    Of the remaining users, a small number have complied with the Ofcom regulations requiring declaration of the Service Charge and thereby draw attention to their ongoing non-compliance with their contracted terms as a provider of NHS services:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&filter=0&q=site:nhs.uk+%22per+minute%22+%22access+charge%22

    Others continue their usage of 084 and 087 numbers AND fail to declare the Service Charge. NHS Choices draws attention to the premium rate nature of these numbers AND to the failure of the user to properly declare the applicable Service Charge:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&filter=0&q=%22This+is+a+premium+rate+number+and+may+have+a+higher+than+normal+call+charge.+The+provider+has+not+provided+details+of+the+charge.%22

    There are some others who continue their usage of 084 or 087 numbers in parallel with other numbers, but only declare the cheaper number on NHS Choices. Some users of 084 or 087 numbers have removed all of their telephone contact details from NHS Choices. In both cases the non-compliant numbers may continue to be advertised elsewhere.

    A small number have ceased their usage of 084 or 087 numbers but have failed to update NHS Choices to reflect that fact.


    Title: Re: GPs in South Yorkshire (and other areas)
    Post by AR1 on Jan 11th, 2016 at 11:00am

    Barbara wrote on Jun 27th, 2011 at 2:04pm:
    There have been many posts about GPs etc misrepresenting the costs paid by their patients to 084X numbers and this is rightly deplored BUT is anyone pointing out these "errors" to the GPs that they are, in fact, wrong, misleading and misrepresenting call costs to their patients and also being in breach of DOH regulations?  In asking this, I'm not trying to pass a big job onto someone else on the forum but surely it would be a great idea if, rather than just rehearsing the arguments and scandal of this among ourselves, there was perhaps something prepared which any of us using the forum could pass on to these GP surgeries & other NHS bodies when we find they are in breach?  I suggest something be prepared because I think it would have more impact if the wording and aspects emphasised was always identical, I know we can refer to various blogs & documents etc but just something brief & to the point, particularly if it came from several people saying exactly the same thing ie some kind of concerted campaign - what does anyone else think?


    Surely, it would be very helpful initiative and it would act like a collective voice of all the affectees

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