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GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls (Read 10,032 times)
idb
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GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
May 1st, 2005 at 3:35am
 
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2090-1593386,00.html

>>>

DOCTORS are being charged up to 35p a minute to dial a premium rate phone line for emergency ambulance call-outs.
Family doctors are forced to use the 0870 number for urgent admissions, such as suspected heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia, because the 999 lines are reserved for “life or death” cases.

The ambulance service claims it uses cash from the system, provided by BT, to subsidise emergency medical dispatch centres in Edinburgh, Paisley and Inverness.

Doctors’ leaders have condemned the scheme and are calling on the executive to follow Westminster’s lead and ban the use of 0870 numbers in the Scottish NHS.

Dr William McAlpine, of Crosshouse Surgery in Kilmarnock, said he has been charged 8p a minute — twice the average national tariff — to call the service from a landline and 35p a minute from his mobile phone.

[...]

“In England, the NHS is prevented from using 0870 numbers and this should be the case in Scotland as well. The ambulance service should review this practice as a matter of urgency.”

Shona Robison, the Scottish Nationalist party’s health spokeswoman, described the use of 0870 numbers in the NHS as “unacceptable” and called for an ban.

[...]

The SAS defended its use of the premium rate line, adding that the money made from the scheme was “minimal”.

“The 0870 number was introduced to make the system as robust as possible,” said a spokesman. “If there is a problem the call will automatically divert to another control room, ensuring that we would not miss any calls.”

[...]
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lompos
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #1 - May 1st, 2005 at 9:46am
 
Quote:
.Doctors’ leaders have condemned the scheme and are calling on the executive to follow Westminster’s lead and ban the use of 0870 numbers in the Scottish NHS.
[...]


It is a pity the article omits to say that the Department of Health ban of 0870 numbers was accompanied by permission to use 0844 premium rate numbers which, when used by doctors who signed up with NEG, is charged at 5p/min from landlines and an awful lot more from payphones.
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Tanllan
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #2 - May 1st, 2005 at 11:43am
 
Quote:
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2090-1593386,00.html
>>>
“The 0870 number was introduced to make the system as robust as possible,” said a spokesman. “If there is a problem the call will automatically divert to another control room, ensuring that we would not miss any calls.”
[...]

So what does using 087 revenue share have to do with this? Angry Do they not have any telecoms people who understand networks and could set up appropriate fail-safe routing on the public exchanges - without extra cost either to them or to the callers?
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dorf
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #3 - May 1st, 2005 at 3:10pm
 
Even if they do have such people, they would not want to do so.

The reality is that it is all about collecting the Premiums!
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Ofcom are completely ineffectual
 
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Shiggaddi
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #4 - May 1st, 2005 at 3:51pm
 
As the content of the service suggests, it's for GPs to call, not Jo Public.

So GPs know that this is a rip off, and it does cost more, which is in contradiction to NEG.

I do of course have sympathy for those GPs affected, who are of course against the 0870 scam.

But if some of those complaining actually have 0870 numbers for their surgery, then they must share some of the blame, for fuelling the boom in 0870 numbers.

The only winners are BT, NEG, and other providers, at the expense of Jo Public.
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I realy hait itt wen peeple canot spel proply. Itt getts onn mye nervs sew mutch annd streses mee owt. Knot onley iz itt vary bade speling butt allso bade gramer.
 
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bigjohn
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #5 - May 1st, 2005 at 4:24pm
 
So ScotAmb issubsidising its service from the doctors calls,and is indirectly making a profit from patients.
The provider is also indirectly making a profit from the patients.
Strange because i just read the ScotAmb Service web site,and in its Mission and Value Statements it said(WE WILL NOT SHORT CHANGE THE PATIENT.)

What was to stop them to using 0800,or if they had to 0845!!!
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BJ.
 
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Dave
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #6 - May 1st, 2005 at 8:12pm
 
Quote:
The SAS defended its use of the premium rate line, adding that the money made from the scheme was “minimal”.

Money made by whom was “minimal”? SAS with the rest going to the provider of the number.
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idb
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #7 - May 2nd, 2005 at 12:40am
 
The whole concept of using premium numbers for essential services is nothing short of laughable. Everyone is at it including the government. This ludicrous situation could only happen in the UK - anywhere else and it would be considered bonkers. The most unbelievable aspect is that the UK regulator does bugger all about the abuse of the numbering system it is supposed to protect. I cannot think of a more incompetent and inept body than Ofcom. It must have a vested interest in maintaining this 0870 merry-go-round as the situation is just too daft to try to explain to anyone.
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mikeinnc
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Ofcom - quis custodiet
ipsos custodes?

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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #8 - May 3rd, 2005 at 5:01am
 
Quote:
The most unbelievable aspect is that the UK regulator does bugger all about the abuse of the numbering system it is supposed to protect. I cannot think of a more incompetent and inept body than Ofcom. It must have a vested interest in maintaining this 0870 merry-go-round as the situation is just too daft to try to explain to anyone.


Well, idb, you had better believe it! You should try explaining this whole
shambles to people in the USA. I work in the communications industry, so we
understand these issues. When I tell colleagues about this scam, their jaw
drops; their eyes get bigger and they say "you WHAT?Undecided

I have suggested in another post on this site that it appears to me that, since
most Ofcom employees are probably ex- BT employees, and since it is
definitely in BT's continuing financial interest to continue to expand this whole scam, Ofcom will
fight tooth and nail to maintain the gravy train. Their pensions depend on it!!
Of course, they will never admit to this, but I suggest that they are at best
corrupt, and at worst, participating in an unlawful conflict of interest.
And - I suggest this comes directly (but surreptitiously) from their very
highest levels of their management! They have the most to lose!

You are also right that only the long suffering Brits would ever put up with
such a scam. I subscribe to a number of UK magazines, and it is mind boggling to
see that probably 90% of advertisements these days have a 0870 number. In similar
magazines in the US, it is also noticeable that probably 95% of the
advertisements have a 1-800 number included. Just what does that tell you about UK customer service (sic)? Yeah - you can call me, but I'm going to make you pay for the privilege.......you sucker!

But my real fear is that, just like a junkie gets hooked on heroin, the
addiction to the steady drip-drip of your money into the various coffers around
the country is too far gone to reverse....... How much was spent on NGN calls
last year? Was it 1.5 billion pounds or some such figure? Now just ask how much
would have been spent on those same calls if they were all geographic numbers.
I'd wager not 10% of that amount! No wonder these t*rds at Ofcom want it to
continue!!
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dorf
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Re: GPs charged premium rates for ambulance calls
Reply #9 - May 3rd, 2005 at 11:16am
 
There is another Google advert which has appeared at the bottom of this page offering up to 4 p per minute Premiums for 0870s.

Working Lunch eat your heart out!
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« Last Edit: May 3rd, 2005 at 11:16am by dorf »  

Ofcom are completely ineffectual
 
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