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NEG propaganda (Read 460,262 times)
idb
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #675 - May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am
 
http://www.charnwoodmedicalgroup.nhs.uk/js/tinymce/plugins/filemanager/files/New...

CHARNWOOD MEDICAL GROUP NEWSLETTER
May and June 2009 | Volume 1, Issue 1

<<
UPDATE ON OUR NEW TELEPHONE SYSTEM

Why did we switch our phone system?

The company supplying our phone system is called Surgery Line, a specialist GP telephone company. You probably experienced difficulties in calling this surgery – particularly at peak times in the past. By switching to an 0844 number, we are able to increase the number of phone lines into the practice and route your call through to the right person. This means that your call will be answered more quickly than before and you will be less likely to hear the engaged tone when you call in.

The cost to you

There is a common misconception that 0844 numbers cost the same to call as 0870 numbers or premium rate numbers. This is not true. Premium rate calls cost between 10p to £1.50 a minute, whilst national call rate numbers (usually known as 0870) cost about 8p a minute to call. 0844 numbers cost 4.2p per minute to call, which is equivalent to the BT standard daytime rate for the first minute of a call. Whilst tariffs do vary widely, for most patients there is little or no difference in the cost of calling other places on a low call rate 0844 number. In fact, some patients may find it cheaper because unlike a BT call there is no 3p connection charge. Those patients who pay more because of their telecom provider’s rate package will only find themselves paying a few pennies extra for the call. We don’t not make a ‘profit’ out of the 0844 calls - this is written into our contact. The money generated partially funds new equipment in order to provide a better service for patients. The alternative is that ALL of the money goes to the telecoms companies such as BT.

Increased efficiency

Not only is the cost of the call comparable to one made to a local number, but because the telephone system is more efficient, you should be on the phone for less time. Many Doctors surgeries with the Surgery Line system have found that average call durations have decreased by up to half, meaning that it should take you less time to book an appointment. We have changed over to 0844 numbers in order to improve the service we offer our patients and to help staff operate more effectively.

How the system works

We have recorded a new greeting and a new options menu, so you can choose which department or service you wish to be transferred through to. Once you choose the service you require, you should be put straight through. This makes it easier to reach the person you want, and easier to make an appointment.

Call queuing

Your call may be put in a queue, depending upon how busy the surgery is when you call. This often depends on the time of day as the first two hours of surgery opening is usually the busiest. Obviously, there are a limited number of staff available to answer the phones, so even with extra lines you may have to wait for your call to be answered. The engaged tone is all but eliminated in practices with a Surgery Line system.

Mobile phones

Calls from mobile phones to 0844 numbers are subject to the providers’ charges. Calls can be included with minute allowances from the mobile provider, but this is at the discretion of the provider.

All 08 NGN (non geographic numbers) tend to be excluded from calling plans unless you specifically state these numbers as part of your ‘bundled minutes’, although this depends on your provider. 0844 numbers are charged at 4.2p per minute + VAT at all times

Whilst some mobile providers don’t allow 08 to be included within their ‘free bundled minutes’, however, it’s worth noting that the UK mobile industry average cost for a ‘free minute’ is actually 5 pence. You just pay for these ‘free minutes’ upfront at the beginning of the month as part of your ‘bundled costs’ and lose these ‘free minutes’ if you don’t use them within two months.

Over 1,200 GP and dental surgeries have now switched to 0844 numbers for the reason that their patients receive a better service. There are many benefits, but the main one is that it is now easier for patients to get through to make appointments. This is also supported by evidence from independent practice patient surveys which repeatedly highlight the improved service. Whilst we appreciate that change can be inconvenient, we are confident that you will see an improvement in the telephone service we are able to offer you.
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Heinz
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #676 - May 24th, 2009 at 10:36am
 
As usual, smoke and mirrors to disguise the true cost.

Quote:
"... national call rate numbers (usually known as 0870) cost about 8p a minute to call.
BT charges 6p/minute peak to call them but it's irrelevant anyway.

Quote:
0844 numbers cost 4.2p per minute to call, which is equivalent to the BT standard daytime rate for the first minute of a call.
4.2p/minute conveniently forgets the VAT (which takes it to 5p/minute - and which means it is not "equivalent to the BT standard daytime rate" but is, in fact, ½p/minute more expensive).

Quote:
Whilst some mobile providers don’t allow 08 to be included within their ‘free bundled minutes’, however, it’s worth noting that the UK mobile industry average cost for a ‘free minute’ is actually 5 pence. You just pay for these ‘free minutes’ upfront at the beginning of the month as part of your ‘bundled costs’ and lose these ‘free minutes’ if you don’t use them within two months.
They've brought a couple of extra mirrors into the frame with that nonsense!
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« Last Edit: May 24th, 2009 at 10:38am by Heinz »  

After years of ignoring govt. guidelines & RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers using 0845 numbers, Essex County Council changed to 0345 numbers on 2 November 2015
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #677 - May 24th, 2009 at 12:36pm
 
ALSO;-

idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
This means that your call will be answered more quickly than before and you will be less likely to hear the engaged tone when you call in.  By switching to an 0844 number


No, just held in a queue whilst your phone bill increases!
01/02/03 numbers will do the same!


idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
We have recorded a new greeting and a new options menu, so you can choose which department or service you wish to be transferred through to.


And we can generate more money whilst you listen to this menu, then we will put you in a queue for even more money!


idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
Not only is the cost of the call comparable to one made to a local number, but because the telephone system is more efficient, you should be on the phone for less time. Many Doctors surgeries with the Surgery Line system have found that average call durations have decreased by up to half, meaning that it should take you less time to book an appointment. We have changed over to 0844 numbers in order to improve the service we offer our patients and to help staff operate more effectively


Then they should have used a local number!
On the phone for less time? how does that work when you are in a queue? The engaged tone costs nothing, and it is unlikely that you will be answered any quicker by a human!
"changed over to 0844 numbers", so we can make more money!

idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
a low call rate 0844 number. In fact, some patients may find it cheaper because unlike a BT call there is no 3p connection charge. Those patients who pay more because of their telecom provider’s rate package will only find themselves paying a few pennies extra for the call. We don’t not make a ‘profit’ out of the 0844 calls - this is written into our contact. The money generated partially funds new equipment in order to provide a better service for patients.



There they go again,"low call rate", breaking the Criminal Consumer Protection Act 1987 LAW!
With BT there is an 8p connection charge, so at least they are right with, “a BT call there is no 3p connection charge”

Don't make a "profit", "written into our contract", "money generated", all against their contract as they are making a financial gain, as they say,” The money generated” which their contract expressively forbids.


idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
Calls from mobile phones to 0844 numbers are subject to the providers’ charges. Calls can be included with minute allowances from the mobile provider, but this is at the discretion of the provider.

All 08 NGN (non geographic numbers) tend to be excluded from calling plans unless you specifically state these numbers as part of your ‘bundled minutes’, although this depends on your provider. 0844 numbers are charged at 4.2p per minute + VAT at all times


Calls to 0844 can NOT be included in minute allowances.

You cannot, “specifically state these numbers as part of your ‘bundled minutes’”, they will tell you to get lost!

“0844 numbers are charged at 4.2p per minute + VAT at all times”, NOT from mobiles! They can cost up to 40ppm.


idb wrote on May 24th, 2009 at 4:54am:
Over 1,200 GP and dental surgeries have now switched to 0844 numbers for the reason that their patients receive a better service. There are many benefits, but the main one is that it is now easier for patients to get through to make appointments. This is also supported by evidence from independent practice patient surveys, which repeatedly highlight the improved service.


“better service?, No, just for the surgery to make more money!

Only benefit is to the surgery.

What “independent practice patient surveys”, I was never asked!


These people are either the most accomplished liars, or so gullible that they believe everything their telco informs them is gospel!
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #678 - Jul 6th, 2009 at 5:27pm
 
In the last few days, the following item has appeared on the internet:



This is the NEG response to the Department of Health consultation on a proposal to ban use of 084 telephone numbers in the NHS.

I offer some preliminary comments from a quick scan.
  • It contains an acceptance that 03 numbers may be used in place of 084 numbers, which could be seen as something of a breakthrough.
  • It however fails to make any reference to the significance of “free at the point of need” as an issue of NHS policy, leaning on the nonsense of “choice”.
  • All call costings are given as if the rates for 0845 numbers applied to all 084 numbers. Even then they are confused, as unlike items are used to give differences.

I will be preparing a formal response and will post further.

For now, I can say that both NEG and the BMA argue that patients should have the choice of paying for enhanced NHS services as they use them, rather than through taxation. This is a legitimate point of view, however it must be argued openly and honestly. The question of what services are available for those who choose not to pay in this way is only one of the points I raise in opposing this view.

Other members may wish to offer their view.
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #679 - Jul 6th, 2009 at 8:47pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 6th, 2009 at 5:27pm:
In the last few days, the following item has appeared on the internet:



This is the NEG response to the Department of Health consultation on a proposal to ban use of 084 telephone numbers in the NHS.

Well, what can I say? The title of this thread couldn't be more apt!

Let's look at NEG's so-called "Fact Two":

They say a 3 minute call to a:-
  • 01, 02, or 03 number on "Standard BT Tariff" costs 4.50 pence per minute plus 8 pence call set-up which comes to 21.50 pence.
  • 01, 02, or 03 number on "BT Unlimited Evening & Weekend Plan" costs 3.91 pence per minute plus 8 pence call set-up which to 19.73 pence.
  • 084 number on "Standard BT Tariff" costs 4.89 pence per minute plus 2.93 call set-up which comes to 17.61 pence.


A daytime call to a 01, 02 or 03 number on either what they refer to as "Standard BT Tariff" ("Unlimited Evening Plan") is the same as on the Unlimited Evening & Weekend Plan. The 3.91 pence per minute is a figure they have plucked out of thin air.

Of more concern is the 2.93 call set-up fee for a 084 call. The call set-up fee is 2.94 pence for "standard rate" or "non-discounted" rate customers. This is set out in BT Price List General Notes.
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« Last Edit: Jul 6th, 2009 at 8:57pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #680 - Jul 6th, 2009 at 9:18pm
 
There is the continued reference to "enhanced" solutions. So what is a non-enhanced solution?  Huh

What does the level of "enhancement" of the "solution" have to do with the 084 number? Answer, nothing because the system itself is based in the surgery and can be accessed through the geographical number. The tailored message depending on time of day, menus, and voicemail are all based on hardware at the surgery.
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« Last Edit: Jul 6th, 2009 at 9:18pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #681 - Jul 7th, 2009 at 3:59am
 
Let's look at so-called FACT#9:

[/start NEG propaganda]

When the Department of Health first began to express concerns about the use of 084 numbers by GP surgeries, it was within the context of an ongoing OFCOM study into this area. On 11 April 2005, Gary Belfield, Head of Primary Care at the Department, wrote to PCT Chief Executives, telling them that OFCOM was looking into this area and that, as a result, it was possible that OFCOM could withdraw support for revenue sharing through 084 numbers.

In fact, when OFCOM published the findings of its study later in 2005, it concluded:

"Ofcom does not consider that it currently has sufficient grounds to justify preventing public bodies using revenue sharing NTS numbers."

"An approach that singled out public sector services would be potentially discriminatory."

"Ofcom does not consider there is currently sufficient evidence of consumer detriment in relation to the use of 08 numbers by public services to justify such an extreme position."

"The responses from two other regulatory bodies, LACORS and ICSTIS, argued that a ban on revenue sharing would be disproportionate and that priority should be given to improving price transparency."

We contacted OFCOM in the process of drawing up this response to the Department's consultation on 084 numbers and they confirmed to us that this remains their policy position.

[/end NEG propaganda]

and contrast with this Ofcom guidance:

Guidance for public bodies: Ofcom does not consider that it currently has sufficient grounds to justify preventing public bodies using revenue sharing NTS numbers. However, Ofcom has already stated its view that public bodies should consider carefully whether it is appropriate to use 084 and 087 numbers in place of Freephone or ordinary geographic numbers. In particular, Ofcom believes it is inappropriate for public bodies to use NTS numbers exclusively (i.e. without at a minimum, giving equal prominence to a geographic alternative) when dealing with people on low incomes or other vulnerable groups. Ofcom has been active in providing advice to the Government's Central Office of Information ('COI') and Government Departments and will continue to provide this support. Ofcom would like to see a greater level of compliance with the COI's published guidelines on the use of number ranges, given the level of public disquiet over this issue, and would be keen to support the Government in achieving this objective.
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« Last Edit: Jul 7th, 2009 at 4:01am by idb »  

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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #682 - Jul 7th, 2009 at 11:52am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jul 6th, 2009 at 5:27pm:
  • All call costings are given as if the rates for 0845 numbers applied to all 084 numbers. Even then they are confused, as unlike items are used to give differences.

In my haste and confusion, I misunderstood where they had gone wrong, please ignore the line quoted above - I now have it.

BT Standard is used as the base to get the lower setup fee of 2.94p (even though almost nobody is on that tariff.)

This setup fee however applies to 01/02/03 as well as 0844 calls. The cost for a 3 minute 01/02/03 call is therefore 16.44, not 21.5.

The 3.91 given for Unlimited 01/02/03 is the rate that applied from Dec 08 to March 09.

The correct cost for this 3 minute call @ 4.5 ppm is 21.5.

This must however be compared with the equivalent 0844 call: 4.89 ppm, setup 8p, giving 22.67. (Comparison with the BT Standard equivalent is meaningless)

Whichever way you do it the 3 minute 0844 call is 1.17p more expensive. The rates for each call type are the same for both tariffs. The setup fee for each tariff is the same for both call types.

(N.B. I follow the rounding approach shown by NEG. In fact rates are shown to three places of a penny. Call costs are calculated ex-VAT and rounded up to the nearest penny. VAT is applied to the total on the bill.)


NEG has long laboured under (or deliberately falsely promoted) the false assumption that differences in setup charges give advantages to 0844. At times it has claimed that there are none.

The difference between the BT rates for 0844 and 01/02/03 has been diminishing for some time because the former is fixed and the latter is being raised to get customers onto inclusive packages.
We are only dealing here with non-inclusive calls from BT landlines during the daytime. This may be a sizeable proportion of GP patients, but all other callers to 0844 (g6) numbers suffer a much greater differential in cost.


On further review of the material I see a strong argument for use of revenue sharing numbers to provide money to GPs for investment in the facilities of their surgery, as an alternative to funding out of taxation. Despite the false claims about cost, this argument is advanced on the basis that patients may pay more.

Some would find the argument that the cost of upgrading a GP telephone system should be carried by the patients of the surgery in question as they use it, rather than all taxpayers, to be persuasive. This, coupled with the fact that the individual costs are modest, in the context of a highly valued otherwise free service, is what has kept Surgery Line going without serious protests from many patients.

The definitive false statements about the actual costs are to deflect those who look at the issues of principle, forcing them to pursue highly detailed arguments that require an understanding of the BT Price List to follow.
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #683 - Jul 8th, 2009 at 11:09pm
 
A posting partly relevant to the NEG response to the consultation and my reply to it have been made in another thread.

This posting is to establish a link, as they are probably relevant to both threads.
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #684 - Jul 22nd, 2009 at 10:13am
 
NEG consultation response - a commentary on the NEG submission to the DH

is a new item on the NHS.Patient web site

Copies have been distributed to key relevant personnel.
Warning - this is not light holiday reading!!


(This website is being re-designed due to a technology update, i.e. down-grade, but not much is changed yet.)
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #685 - Aug 4th, 2009 at 8:18pm
 
Although there is no reference to it as such, there is much to be found here that is well withing the terms of this topic:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/0844_telephone_numbers
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #686 - Aug 30th, 2009 at 10:03am
 
GPs using Talk Talk (Opal Telecom) 0844 numbers can change to 0344.

A guide to changing numbers is published.

Briefing issued.

One wonders why NEG has apparently made no public reference to this obvious solution. The launch of the consultation was not considered to be the proper time, according to a NEG representative who chose to appear on TV to discuss the issue. Five months after the end of the consultation and with an announcement of the outcome imminent, it is not too late for those who wish only for open and honest discussion of the issues.
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #687 - Nov 14th, 2009 at 12:23am
 
Some propaganda from elitetele.com, "the UK's leading business telecoms provider"

http://www.elitetele.com/Phone-Numbers/08-Numbers/0844-Phone-Numbers/

0844 Numbers Versus 0845 Local Rate Numbers (Non Geographic)

0844 Numbers

0844 Numbers are the new and realistic 0845 replacement, bearing in mind that 0845 numbers are due to be reviewed by Ofcom within the next 18months.

The range has also proven popular for 0870 number migration as there is a low rate call cost to callers – only 5ppm – and the range also allows for a revenue stream. The 0844 range is less costly to the business than using a freephone number and as the calls are charged at a fixed price, it is much less likely that Ofcom will impose any future regulatory changes to this range.

0844 numbers provide access to all the Network Level Services.

0844 is a prefix that companies use on their phone number so callers pay local rate, wherever they are calling from in the UK. 0844 is not as well known as the prefix 0845, but 0844 does the same job. Companies may choose 0844 as an alternative because the number they want has already been used by 0845. Also, they can make callers aware that 0844 is local rate by saying ‘all 0844 calls at local rate’ so the caller knows for sure that the call to 0844 will be cheap.

Many companies offer their customers local rate 0844 calls because it improves business, and gives them a national presence. A customer calling 0844 will have no idea where the company is based, and may presume that because they have a 0844 that they are a successful and national company. The 0844 prefix will attract their business because they want to be sure that the company will treat them in a professional manner, and the 0844 number does give them extra credibility.

Companies often get bad press if they are known to have bad customer service, and they do not have an 0844. If callers have to spend extra money just to make a complaint because there is no 0844, they may not give their return business. An 0844 number puts the relationship on a better footing in the first place, as the customer does not feel cheated by telephone charges because of the 0844.

Whether a company has 0844 or 0845, the result is the same. The company could be in Aberdeen but with 0844 the caller could be in Cornwall and still pay local rate when calling 0844. Callers are also more likely to call an 0844, so businesses can use that 0844 opportunity to build a better customer relationship

People are once again kicking up a fuss over phone numbers. There’s now talk of banning the 0844 and 0845 numbers that apparently a fifth of 8000 GP Practices are using. And lest we forget, the 0845 NHS Direct number too!

Well, let’s take a look at 0844 and 0845 shall we? 0844 and 0845 numbers are not, contrary to popular belief, premium rate numbers. Let me repeat that – 0844 and 0845 numbers are not premium rate! It does not cost the national debt to ring them and I seriously doubt that people would actually appreciate a local number for NHS Direct.

With 0844 and 0845 numbers, GP Practices can gain Network Level Services. This means that call recording, call statistics, call reporting and call re-routing to contact centres are all features available to GPs because they have an 0844 or 0845 number. So imagine the line’s busy when you ring your doctor – we can divert you to a contact centre or to another GP Practice. Calls can be recorded for legal reasons and training purposes. Listen to me when I say, 0844 and 0845 numbers are not the enemy! Instead, they enable your GP to offer you a better service – and let’s face it, we’d only complain if they didn’t.
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #688 - Nov 14th, 2009 at 12:28am
 
What a load of rubbish!  Undecided
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Re: NEG propaganda
Reply #689 - Nov 14th, 2009 at 1:49am
 
idb wrote on Nov 14th, 2009 at 12:23am:
Some propaganda from elitetele.com, "the UK's leading business telecoms provider"

http://www.elitetele.com/Phone-Numbers/08-Numbers/0844-Phone-Numbers/

0844 Numbers Versus 0845 Local Rate Numbers (Non Geographic)

The text quoted above latterly includes that from a news posting on this website - Doctors Expensive 0845 And 0844 Phone Numbers To Be Banned?.

Following the link to this posting shows some comments, including a sizable item that I was surprised to see published. (WARNING: Some members may find the comments distasteful as it does not condemn all use of 0844 numbers.)

The headline editorial piece for the 0844 section of the website is such rubbish as to be unworthy of comment.
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