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Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consultation (Read 197,148 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #120 - Aug 30th, 2009 at 9:45am
 
GPs using Talk Talk (Opal Telecom) 0844 numbers can change to 0344.

A guide to changing numbers is published.

Briefing issued.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #121 - Sep 2nd, 2009 at 5:47pm
 
loddon wrote on Aug 7th, 2009 at 9:03pm:
"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."




A liitle more news!!   I have been pressing the Dept of Health for the date in September.    They haven't revealed that yet but I have been told today that a posting on the website is "imminent".     So I can only suggest that, if you are interested, you keep looking here :---

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Closedconsultations/DH_091879  

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« Last Edit: Sep 2nd, 2009 at 5:49pm by loddon »  
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #122 - Sep 11th, 2009 at 8:43am
 
Personal comments on an imminent annnouncement - blogged here.
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Dave
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #123 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 12:02am
 
Press release from DH on consultation response is here:

http://nds.coi.gov.uk/clientmicrosite/Content/Detail.aspx?ClientId=46&NewsAreaId...


The page for this consultation, which contains links to the consultation itself and the response is here.
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« Last Edit: Sep 14th, 2009 at 12:09am by Dave »  
 
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #124 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 12:13am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Sep 11th, 2009 at 8:43am:
Personal comments on an imminent annnouncement - blogged here.


More blogging now possible - see links below.
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Dave
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #125 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 12:44am
 
So we've been waiting six months for a response which covers less than 10 pages.  Roll Eyes

There will not be a ban on 084 numbers, but a ban on premium rate charges. The DH believes that there may come a day when revenue sharing numbers cost the same as local calls.

The ban is to be enforced through changes to the GMS Contract. It will be up to GPs to ensure that all their patients do not pay more than a local call. I am not sure how the DH is envisages that GPs can control this.

If it were to be written into a GP's contract that patients pay no more than a geographic call, and one or more of his or her patients end up paying more, can the GP be legally held to account?
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #126 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 1:49am
 
Source: BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8251290.stm

<<

Ban for NHS premium rate numbers

The use of premium phone rates by GP surgeries and hospitals is to be banned in England, the government says.

It comes after 3,000 people responded to a public consultation about the use of 084 numbers in the NHS, and 90% said calls should be charged at local rates.

The 084 numbers will not be banned but must cost no more than a standard call.

[…]

The British Medical Association said the proposals to limit the cost of 084 numbers to that of local calls was the fairest way forward for patients and practices.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "Patients who call their surgery because they're ill shouldn't be penalised because they have to call an 084 number, so we're pleased that the phone companies who supply these lines to practices have agreed to ensure that their tariffs are in line with local charges.

[…]

>>
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Dave
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #127 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 2:06am
 
The news release from the BMA is here:

http://web2.bma.org.uk/pressrel.nsf/wlu/STRE-7VSHKC?OpenDocument&vw=wfmms

Dr Vautrey says:

“We’d also like to see more phone companies include 084 numbers in the comprehensive call packages they offer customers to increase the benefit for patients. Calling these numbers should be treated no differently from calling other geographic numbers.”


In response to the quote: I bet you would. You expect other telephone companies to cover the cost of the higher charge to your telephone company for your telephone system. Obviously, ultimately these costs get passed back to callers in general in increased package fees.
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mikeinnc
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #128 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 7:02am
 
Dave wrote on Sep 14th, 2009 at 12:44am:
So we've been waiting six months for a response which covers less than 10 pages.  Roll Eyes

There will not be a ban on 084 numbers, but a ban on premium rate charges. The DH believes that there may come a day when revenue sharing numbers cost the same as local calls.



It is interesting to see the specific text in the Dept of Health website:

Quote:
It is not our intention to prohibit ‘revenue sharing’ as part of our proposals – the important thing is to ensure that patients are not being made to pay more than the equivalent cost of calling an 01 or 02 number. ‘Revenue-sharing’ arrangements allow for a proportion of the money paid to the supplier to go towards the ongoing cost of running an 084 number, which includes the cost of renting the equipment from the supplier.


This would appear to suggest that NO provider - mobile or landline - will be able to charge more than they would normally charge for an equivalent 01 or 02 call at that specific time of the day for a call to a doctor's surgery. If that is indeed the case, where will the 'revenue share' that is specifically NOT being prohibited come from?

All sounds like double-speak to me!  Angry
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Delay, obfuscation and deceit results in.........
Reply #129 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 7:02am
 
......... another New Liebour smoke and mirrors announcement!

You can see it now.  One minute after midnight on September 30th, at the very instant that BT's call rate increases from 4.5p to 5.25p per minute, NEG's publicity machine whirs into action:

"Get a SurgeryLine system,  calls are cheaper than local rate"


Quote:
http://web2.bma.org.uk/pressrel.nsf/wlu/STRE-7VSHKC?OpenDocument&vw=wfmms

Dr Vautrey says:

“We’d also like to see more phone companies include 084 numbers in the comprehensive call packages they offer customers to increase the benefit for patients.”

The first to do so would certainly have a heaven-sent publicity platform!

But, even if that happens, what about the cost of calling from a phone box or from a PAYG mobile?

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« Last Edit: Sep 14th, 2009 at 8:54am 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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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #130 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 7:15am
 
Keep up the pressure folks.

This mess will get unravelled - if we can catch it while it is hot news it will be easier.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #131 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 8:31am
 
From today's Daily Telegraph..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6173779/NHS-must-not-charge-more-th...

Others here on this site far cleverer than me will be able to interperate what it will mean
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #132 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 8:44am
 
Health Minister Mike O’Brien said:

“We have been concerned that some people are paying more than the cost of a local call rate to contact the NHS.  It is clear from the feedback we have received that patients support the banning of any number or tariff which is more expensive to call.

“For people on low incomes, and for those who need to contact their local doctor or hospital regularly, these costs can soon build up. We want to reassure the public that when they contact their local GP or hospital, the cost of their call will be no more expensive than if they had dialled a normal landline number.”

The Department of Health will work with the British Medical Association’s GP Committee over the coming months to integrate the legislative changes into the GP contracts


and

The ban on the use of numbers charging patients a premium rate to call NHS services will allow a marketplace to evolve where 084 numbers compete alongside 01, 02 and 03 numbers, but where patients will pay no more than the cost of a local call. The ban means that GPs and other NHS organisations remain free to use 084 numbers, providing patients are not charged more than a local rate number.


Minister O’Brien says “It is clear from the feedback we have received that patients support the banning of any number or tariff which is more expensive to call.”     The consultation paper was not about tariffs it was about 084 numbers.    It said that the DoH was considering banning 084 numbers, it asked for views about 084 numbers, it never mentioned tariffs.  It is clear that the vast majority wants 084 numbers to be banned.   So why not ban those numbers?

It is ridiculous for him to say that he is only banning certain tariffs while allowing use of 084 numbers to continue.    Is he going to ban 084 tariffs when calls are made to NHS services, but presumably not in all other cases.    How is that going to be done?   It is unrealistic and will not be possible.   Bear in mind that most calls these days are made within a call package, whether callers are using a landline or a mobile phone; this means that most normal geographic calls are made at zero marginal cost because they are pre-paid within the package.    The tariff for any 084 number will only match that price if it is included within the package.   I do not believe that only 084 calls to the NHS can specifically be included in packages.    This is the reason that the announcement by O’Brien is a failure and a complete disaster.     0844 numbers are entirely excluded from all packages at all times.   0845 are excluded from most packages at most times, especially day times.   This means that almost all calls to GPs 0844 and 0845 numbers will cost more than the cost of a geographic call.

This is the reason that this statement is a failure.   A complete disaster.  A sham.  A  shameful attempt at deception of the public.    The Minister is basing his whole case on the comparative cost of 084 calls with geographic number calls in the small minority of cases.   His only intention is to allow the rip-offs to continue, to allow NEG, the monstrous lying cheating disreputable gang that they are, to continue ripping off NHS patients.   The Minister has no backbone, no honesty, no principles.   He is a disaster.  He has lied when saying that he wants “to reassure the public that when they contact their local GP or hospital, the cost of their call will be no more expensive than if they had dialled a normal landline number.”   This statement is no reassurance, it  will only destroy any trust or confidence that the public might have in him and the useless ineffective government to which he belongs.   It is a damning indictment of the Department of Health which has wasted vast amounts of taxpayers money in carrying out this false non-consultation.

It is obvious that all the honest contributions to the consultation by members of the public, many contributors to this website and most of the NHS respondents have been ignored.   This is an insult to all these people as well as an insult to the public at large.    This announcement is a disgraceful attempt at a confidence trick and should be rejected by all.

Our protests must continue.   The campaign must carry on with renewed vigour and determination.   We will not accept this announcement as an answer to the requirement that all phone calls to all NHS services are charged at a fair rate which allows patients to call at normal geographic rates, which includes unrestricted use of calls to NHS and GPs within phone packages.  

I would urge everyone to write in protest at this announcement to the Minister, to their MP, to the press.
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« Last Edit: Sep 14th, 2009 at 9:48am by loddon »  
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #133 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 10:47am
 



From the BBC web site....(my highlights)


Ban for NHS premium rate numbers
NHS hospital staff
084 numbers are increasingly being used within the NHS

The use of premium phone rates for people contacting the NHS in England is to be banned, the government has said.

It comes after 3,000 people responded to a public consultation about the use of 084 numbers in the NHS, and 90% said calls should be charged at local rates.

The 084 numbers will not be banned but calls to hospitals or GP surgeries must cost no more than a standard call.


Doctors' leaders welcomed the change, saying patients should not be penalised because they are ill.


However, the ban would not apply to the cost of making phone calls from hospital beds, an NHS spokesperson said.

Campaigners against higher tariff 084 numbers, increasingly used within the NHS, say they go against the founding principles of the NHS which is that it is "free at the point of need".

Call costs can vary but some 084 numbers can cost as much as 40p per minute, while some others are set at the same rate as a standard call.

But an additional problem for patients is that many phone companies do not include 084 numbers as part of their inclusive packages. In particular, mobile phone users often have to pay extra to call the numbers.
     
We have been concerned that some people are paying more than the cost of a local call rate to contact the NHS
Mike O'Brien, Health Minister

Doctors had argued the use of 084 numbers enable them to offer patients a better service, such as a queuing system rather than an engaged tone.

It had been proposed that the numbers should be banned completely but the Department of Health said that would simply lead to the use of other higher tariff numbers

Instead they are taking moves to ensure that numbers used in the NHS do not cost the patient more than the cost of calling a geographical number.

Ofcom has previously said it would like public sector organisations to switch from 0845 numbers to a special suite of 03 numbers, which would be charged at the same rate as calling a normal landline number.

The Department of Health said there were plans for NHS Direct to move to one of the 03 numbers but its 0845 number would continue for now.

Concern

Health minister Mike O'Brien said: "We have been concerned that some people are paying more than the cost of a local call rate to contact the NHS.

"For people on low incomes, and for those who need to contact their local doctor or hospital regularly, these costs can soon build up.

"We want to reassure the public that when they contact their local GP or hospital, the cost of their call will be no more expensive than if they had dialled a normal landline number."

In Scotland, fewer than 4% of practices use premium rate numbers but the government is planning to issue advice on pushing down costs for those that do.

The British Medical Association said the proposals for England to limit the cost of 084 numbers to that of local calls was the fairest way forward for patients and practices.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "Patients who call their surgery because they're ill shouldn't be penalised because they have to call an 084 number, so we're pleased that the phone companies who supply these lines to practices have agreed to ensure that their tariffs are in line with local charges.

"There are many added benefits that telephone systems using these numbers have and which patients find helpful, for example better and quicker access, so it's good to see that the government has recognised this and has not gone for a complete ban on the use of these numbers."

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients' Association, said: "It's great that the Department of Health has listened to patients. Asking them to pay extra costs for phone calls was unreasonable.

"Patients have had to wait long enough for the ruling. Let's hope the change happens as quickly as possible."

But David Hickson, a phone charges campaigner, said he believed the government would have trouble implementing the proposals.

"The government has failed to realise that the only way to ensure people only pay a normal charge is by prohibiting numbers that might charge more," he said.

"The only way to do it is to prohibit 084 numbers."
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mikeinnc
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #134 - Sep 14th, 2009 at 11:20am
 
Isn't it quite remarkable that neither the Telegraph article nor the BBC article have reader comments turned on? It is quite clear that the media has been requested by O'Brien not to allow public comment on this absolutely scandalous pack of lies. Without banning 084 numbers for ALL medical practices - doctors; hospitals and associated government departments - nothing will change. O'Brien and his cheating, lying colleagues know this - but don't want to be exposed for the charlatans they really are. What absolute hypocrisy!  Angry

(But I've just realised that the Daily Mail does have reader comments enabled. Maybe it is time for all regular posters to this forum to tell it like it is; comment on the Mail site and let the public see just what a sham this announcement is. Shame they got the headline wrong, though. 0845? I thought it was 0844.....)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213223/Whitehall-pulls-plug-GPs-costly-...
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« Last Edit: Sep 14th, 2009 at 11:26am by mikeinnc »  
 
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