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Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consultation (Read 198,186 times)
loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #105 - Jul 4th, 2009 at 5:19pm
 
The Department of Health has taken sooooooooooo long to get on with its consultation on banning 084 numbers that a Midlands PCT has decided to go ahead and take action to get rid of 084 numbers now.     This item in the  Birmingham Mail today reports    Health trust helps patients save money with campaign on 084 telephone numbers


"With the assistance of the PCT, 22 of its GPs have abandoned revenue sharing 0845 numbers in favour of 0345 numbers ......"  

and

“This sets a fine example to other PCTs and demonstrates that the problems in addressing this issue can be overcome.”

The whole story is at ;---

http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2009/07/04/health-trust-helps...

The full text of the report is as follows :---

Health trust helps patients save money with campaign on 084 telephone numbers

A BIRMINGHAM health trust is helping save patients cash by leading the way on eliminating expensive 084 phone numbers to GP surgeries.

Campaigners have been fighting against the revenue-sharing numbers, which the Department of Health has also condemned as they cost a higher fee of 5p a minute.

Birmingham-born campaigner David Hickson, who previously led a rally call to stop companies making “silent” telemarketing calls, praised Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust (PCT) for taking action to change the pricey system.

“Whilst the Health Minister contemplates a delayed response to the recent consultation on a proposed ban on use of revenue sharing 084 numbers in the NHS, Heart of Birmingham PCT has been getting on with the job,” Mr Hickson said.

“With the assistance of the PCT, 22 of its GPs have abandoned revenue sharing 0845 numbers in favour of 0345 numbers, which must be charged in the same way as calls to local numbers and may not be subject to revenue sharing.

“This sets a fine example to other PCTs and demonstrates that the problems in addressing this issue can be overcome.”

There is strong public opinion on the expensive call system and an internet petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ban the use of revenue sharing numbers attracted more than 26,000 signatures.

Mr Hickson is heading a campaign as he claims the 084 numbers “exploit” patients.

The 0844 and 0845 non-geographical numbers were introduced to help surgeries deal with more calls on more modern telecom systems, but there was an extra cost to patients when calling doctors for an appointment on these numbers as they paid more than a local rate call to offset the cost of equipment used.

These numbers allow patients to wait in a call queue rather than having to repeatedly hang up and redial, choose from a menu of options and be automatically directed to the most appropriate place without having to dial another number and also book appointments or order repeat prescriptions via an automated system.



(It should be noted that references to a certain Mr Hickson being the leader of any campaign are entirely assumptions made by the newspaper).

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« Last Edit: Jul 4th, 2009 at 6:07pm by loddon »  
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Dave
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #106 - Jul 5th, 2009 at 11:56am
 
Bartley Green Medical Practice has now changed its number from 0845 601 6584 to 0121 214 8612. The 0845 number has a recording on redirecting to the new number. The website and NHS website still give the 0845 number.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #107 - Jul 5th, 2009 at 9:34pm
 
Dave wrote on Jul 5th, 2009 at 11:56am:
Bartley Green Medical Practice has now changed its number from 0845 601 6584 to 0121 214 8612. The 0845 number has a recording on redirecting to the new number. The website and NHS website still give the 0845 number.


This practice is under South Birmingham PCT so perhaps the move away from 084 numbers by GPs is spreading from the Heart of Birmingham to adjacent areas.

Would this practice and the others mentioned be candidates for our Hall of Fame?
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #108 - Jul 5th, 2009 at 10:45pm
 
loddon wrote on Jul 5th, 2009 at 9:34pm:
Would this practice and the others mentioned be candidates for our Hall of Fame?

I've added this one.  Wink

Is there a list of the GPs who come under the Heart of Birmingham PCT who have changed or who will be abandoning their revenue sharing numbers?
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #109 - Jul 6th, 2009 at 12:01am
 
Dave wrote on Jul 5th, 2009 at 10:45pm:
Is there a list of the GPs who come under the Heart of Birmingham PCT who have changed or who will be abandoning their revenue sharing numbers?


The list of 0845-using GPs on the NHS.Patient website shows 33 for Heart of Birmingham PCT. This was obtained from NHS Choices some time ago.

A review of the current NHS Choices list does not identify any that have changed, however a new health centre (run by Care UK) has opened in Greet with a 0345 number.

There are no 0345 numbers shown in the latest guide published by the PCT.

If anyone is very interested in this sort of detailed information, which is not to be found in the public domain, they could consider making a Freedom of Information request! One might have imagined that this could have been of interest to a local journalist. Local people who have seen the news story may want to follow this up with the PCT.
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« Last Edit: Jul 6th, 2009 at 12:03am by Dave »  
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #110 - Jul 6th, 2009 at 5:30pm
 
In the last few days, the following item has appeared on the internet:



This is the NEG response to the Department of Health consultation.

I start a discussion on it in this thread.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #111 - Jul 8th, 2009 at 9:07pm
 
NEG, in their submission, have not considered the possibility of GPs offering geographic numbers alongside their 084 numbers as Northumberland have done:---    

"Council RESOLVED that:

(b)      Both the 0845 and 01670 numbers be included on the Council’s website and on any future literature with immediate effect together with a link to an explanation of the charging policy. "


This is what the Dept of Health could do as a result of its recent Consultation on the banning of 084 numbers in the NHS as an interim step.

All GPs currently using 084 numbers should be required to reveal their 01/02 numbers with immediate effect and publish them alongside their 084 numbers until their current supplier contracts expire.    This would give the choice to all their patients who could choose which number they would prefer to use.

This is a principle which the present Government has introduced into the NHS and a principle that it is enthusiastically promoting.    What an ideal solution!    Totally on message with the Governments ideas and patient choice being exercised within the NHS.    This was proposed during the Consultation so we expect that it has been given serious consideration in the options placed before the Minister.   Northumberland Council have demonstrated that issuing geographic numbers alongside 084 numbers is a feasible practical and realistic option.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #112 - Jul 8th, 2009 at 11:02pm
 
loddon wrote on Jul 8th, 2009 at 9:07pm:
NEG, in their submission, have not considered the possibility of GPs offering geographic numbers alongside their 084 numbers as Northumberland have done:--- ...

(see this response to a similar posting)

... Of course not. NEG argue for the right of GPs to fund investment in their surgeries using money from revenue sharing telephone numbers (i.e. from patients). That investment would be reduced if not all telephone calls were through the revenue sharing number. How would a receptionist be expected to answer a question about which of the two numbers someone should call - "Don't call the 0844 it's always more expensive" ? !!

Presented with a requirement to offer a geographic alternative, GPs would certainly be reluctant to incur the cost of redirecting calls made on the geographic number to the same network-based waiting facility so that all calls were queued to be answered in strict sequence. Unless such a requirement were stipulated, so that all calls received exactly the same service, the door would be open for terminating the geographic number on a single handset in the corner of the reception area. This handset would be labeled "pauper's line" and would be answered whenever convenient, or perhaps simply left off the hook. (This would enable the receptionist to avoid the follow-up question "So why do you have two numbers, then?".)

I believe that this proposal is well-intentioned but ill-considered. This is not (for me) simply about giving some people the chance to save a bit of money. It is about the principles of the NHS. These demand that all investment in NHS services is funded by taxation, not by patients as they use NHS services. The idea of a two-tier service within the NHS, with better options for those who pay and an adequate service for those who do not, is precisely what those who truly believe in the principles of the NHS continue to fight against. That is why we are deeply concerned about the concept of "choice" and all other aspects of consumerism, for fear of where they will inevitably lead. The Surgery Line scam (regardless of the way it is misrepresented) is a clear example of this. I would oppose it if it were presented totally honestly.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #113 - Aug 7th, 2009 at 11:01am
 
Anyone got any update on what is happening and when we are likely to get a response from the DoH?

It is pretty mind blowing that there can be such a delay.

What happens when they have to consider something mildly difficult?
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #114 - Aug 7th, 2009 at 9:03pm
 
Keith,

The timing of your question could not have been better!    I have been continuously pestering the DH for a statement of when they intend to respond to the Consultation  since the end of April, which was when they had originally said a response would be published.    I have received a statement today from the Dept of Health which says :----

"Officials have now met with the new Minister to agree the recommendations from the consultation, and the Minister plans to make an announcement on the outcome of the consultation in September, alongside the publication of the Department’s response to the consultation."

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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #115 - Aug 7th, 2009 at 10:44pm
 
loddon wrote on Aug 7th, 2009 at 9:03pm:
" ... the Minister plans to make an announcement on the outcome of the consultation in September, alongside the publication of the Department’s response to the consultation."

A decision to do nothing could easily be covered in a response to the consultation. An announcement, "We are going to do nothing" or "We will look at this again in a year's time" does not seem that likely. That is not to say that we will achieve all that we have sought, the exclusion of NHS Direct has already been announced.

In guessing on the likely date for an announcement of a popular move, one may be drawn to the Labour Party Conference which starts on Monday 27 September. The actual date of Andy Burnham's speech is not yet published. If Mike O'Brien is to have the honour of making the announcement, then it would be earlier.
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« Last Edit: Aug 7th, 2009 at 10:45pm by SilentCallsVictim »  
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #116 - Aug 8th, 2009 at 3:50pm
 
Cheers guys - feedback much appreciated.

I did some chasing sometime ago, but got fed up with the bland template responses.
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What happened to the Govt's consultation paper?
Reply #117 - Aug 27th, 2009 at 3:38pm
 
Back in March, there was a Government consultation paper and, from the tone of it, it made it sound like the use of 0844 (etc) numbers - at least in the public sector, such as Health - was going to be banned.

The consultation ended in March and feedback was promised "within a month".

I have heard nothing since and was wondering if anyone had learned what the result was.

We have taken legal advice and we are basically stuck with the contracts that some of our GP practices have signed. However, if we knew that the Govt had banned the numbers, it would give us a stronger negotiating position with the provider.

Many thanks.
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Re: What happened to the Govt's consultation paper
Reply #118 - Aug 27th, 2009 at 5:08pm
 
Andrew_Weight wrote on Aug 27th, 2009 at 3:38pm:
We have taken legal advice and we are basically stuck with the contracts that some of our GP practices have signed. However, if we knew that the Govt had banned the numbers, it would give us a stronger negotiating position with the provider.


Andrew, could you tell us a little about yourself and why you have asked this question?    You mention being "stuck with contracts ... that GPs have signed".   Are you with a PCT or with a phone system supplier or what?   It would be interesting and helpful to us.

By the way, you imply that you have certain expectations about the outcome from the Consultation; could you tell us what it is that you expect?
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« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2009 at 5:24pm by Dave »  
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loddon
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Re: What happened to the Govt's consultation paper
Reply #119 - Aug 27th, 2009 at 5:38pm
 
Andrew_Weight wrote on Aug 27th, 2009 at 3:38pm:
The consultation ended in March and feedback was promised "within a month".

I have heard nothing since and was wondering if anyone had learned what the result was.  Many thanks.


The answer to this was given in post #114 above, in a situation report.    We await the announcement and publication of the government response some time in September.
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