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Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consultation (Read 196,859 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #210 - Oct 22nd, 2009 at 9:33pm
 
redant wrote on Oct 22nd, 2009 at 8:10pm:
Hi Dave
I am sad to admit to "talktalk" inclusive package i.e all calls at any time (except non-geo of course) and broadband.  Transferred from onetel to the 18 month contract.  The 0844 is cheaper if compared to BT "local" rate, but does not, of course, take into account mobile phones.  If I have to call it will be on my mobile and this is what angers me.  The government seem to have really lost the plot on this issue-but did not really expect anything else?

In this case you have the surgery wrong in 3/3 cases.

Their statement does not apply to your mobile, your Talk Talk package, nor the equivalent BT package, where the rate for local calls is zero.

If their rate is slightly less than the BT equivalent local rate, then they should be paying you a small amount of money for each call you make to the surgery.


You could also point out another highly relevant comment from the announcements of 14 September.

Dr Richard Vautrey of the BMA saidwe’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"

Talk Talk supplies 0844 477 3286 (through NEG). I can promise you that Talk Talk has no plans whatsoever to include 0844 numbers in its packages, likewise BT. Even though they both endure tiny margins on these calls, the adjustment to the package fee that would be necedssary has been described to me as representing "financial suicide". Customers would not bear it - they would demand the return of the cheaper package option, without 0844 included. At the same time everyone would get a 0844 number for themselves - why not benefit from 2p per minute revenue share as well as free line rental if it costs your friends no more to call you!

The cost of the revenue share has to be carried by those who call the numbers, not every customer. It is totally wrong that every BT and Talk Talk customer has to pay for the revenue share on 0845 calls, however some believe that this will shortly be ending.


(P.S. We refer to "local rate" remembering that for BT and most other telcos this is the same as "national rate".)
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #211 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 2:21am
 
Members may be interested to note that the Directions to NHS bodies referred to in the September 14 Statement were issued on Monday afternoon.

The formal directions accompanied a "Dear colleague" letter.

I comment and raise issues in a media release.

My latter point is significant. I see it as vital to get those who can speak with formal authority to point out the nonsense implied by these directions.

"The arrangement as a whole" is only relevant according to the choices of telephone tariff made by patients, it has nothing to do with any action by a NHS provider. If a revenue sharing number is selected, it may be fairly assumed that telephone service providers will pass on the extra cost incurred (in providing the revenue share) to callers. This is what one must reasonably expect, unless one perhaps believes that nobody has paid for the presents that will be found under the tree on Friday morning.

To assume that every caller to a 0844 number has subscribed to a BT call plan other than "Anytime" is quite absurd. It is almost equally absurd to assume that patients calling 0845 numbers are only subscribed to BT or to a few selected mobile tariffs that charge the same high rates for both 0845 and geographic calls. (With BT one must include those who I describe as its "clones" - those who parrot the structure of its tariffs.)

Providing NHS services is not the same as running a grocer's shop, where one could perhaps offset discounts from which some customers benefit (paid for by suppliers) against additional costs incurred by other customers (in aiding one's bottom line) when assessing the impact of one's pricing policy on consumers in general. This type of consumerist nonsense has no relevance to the NHS. NHS services are provided to individual patients in need, not to a group of consumers whose interests may be considered collectively, as a group. I will not get involved in playing the consumerist game, even if it may be seen to suggest that use of 084 numbers must be stopped in the NHS.


On a more positive note, for those who are very patient, we see the date of 21 December 2010 as that by which all existing numbers must have been reviewed.

The future for discounted rates for calls to revenue sharing 084 numbers may look a little bleak by then as Ofcom is likely to have made some progress in its review of the "NTS condition" on BT, which is what lies behind them. The perversity of the present situation is well recognised by all parties and so it is possible that specific proposals for radical change will be on the table within the next 12 months. Where revenue sharing is to remain, I think it likely that the present cap on BT's charges will be removed, although the opportunity for profiteering may be restricted by a cap on the premiums that may be applied by all providers (for each and every group of NTS numbers). It may seem odd to celebrate the possibility of some charges being increased (although others will be lowered), however this would help to clarify the situation by showing up revenue sharing for what it is. Once recognised, it is clearly unsuitable for use in the NHS - and other public services.

I look forward to working with members and others to take these matters forward in what could be an interesting New Year.

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« Last Edit: Dec 24th, 2009 at 2:32am by SilentCallsVictim »  
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #212 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 9:25am
 
One, slightly confused, item of media coverage found: DoH bans practices using premium-rate numbers.

The directions issued on Tuesday afternoon only cover NHS bodies themselves, not contractors such as GPs. It is however very likely that the forthcoming contract changes will reflect a similar approach, so the points probably stand.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #213 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 12:03am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 24th, 2009 at 2:21am:
Members may be interested to note that the Directions to NHS bodies referred to in the September 14 Statement were issued on Monday afternoon.

The formal directions accompanied a "Dear colleague" letter.





This "Dear Colleague" letter is written by someone called Nick Hall, Deputy Director.    It is the most ridiculous, stupid, nonsensical letter issued by any government Department for a long time.    It is utterly self contradictory because it says that the Department is "prohibiting the use of telephone numbers which charge the patient more than the equivalent cost of calling a geographic number to contact the NHS", and then says "These Directions do not prohibit ..... non geographic number ranges such as 084 ...".     Only someone practiced in the art of doublethink and in deceiving and lying to the public could write such nonsense.    It is deplorable that such a person as Hall should expect to be paid a salary by the public and then to show such contempt for patients and public.

Mr hall reveals himself as an incompetent idiot who has presided over a mamoth waste of taxpayers money to conduct a completely pointless and worthless "Consultation" on the banning of 084 numbers to which 3000 people responded and in which the overwhelming majority said they wanted a ban.    In addition an even larger consultation was taking place simultaneously in the form of a Petition on the PM's website to which 51,000 people affirmed their desire for 084/7 numbers to be banned or prevented.    

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this whole consultation and the Parliamentary "fact-finding" exercise which commenced in February 2008 were always intended to be a procedure to find some artful way of avoiding imposing a ban.   Well the plan has failed because we are not taken in at all, and can plainly see what has been going on.    Indeed some of us could see what this was all about from the very beginning.  

This issue of the use of 084/7 numbers within the NHS needs to be looked at again, only this time it needs to be done properly and efficiently.   It should take all of 5 minutes to announce a ban --- simple.


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« Last Edit: Dec 28th, 2009 at 12:12am by loddon »  
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #214 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 1:33am
 
I am planning to publish - and provide to all relevant  NHS persoinnel - as complete as possible a list of those telephone tariffs on which callers pay more to call 0845 and 0844 numbers. In addition there will be lists of those where the cost is the same or less.

I propose to use the tariffs in force from 1 January, as all will be adjusted from this date to accomodate the change in VAT. For simplicity, I only wish to address weekday daytime rates. Whilst rates at other times will be relevant in some cases, I believe that the point will be made adequately without risking undermining it by including information that will be irrelevant to many.

At this stage I do not wish to give the detailed rates, but will provide links to the published information.

The first list will enable all those proposing to use 084 numbers to know whether or not they can do so in compliance with the DH directive. It appears that each will need to verify that none of the patients they serve would be likley to ever subscribe to these tariffs. The subsequent lists are essential so that any information obtained to the contrary can be seen in context in a balanced presentation.

If anyone would like to help by providing lists of tariffs from their own research (with each option identified separately, accompanied by hyperlinks and page / item references) I would be very grateful. It could be useful for a new thread in this forum to be used to collect this information, so that we can avoid duplicating work.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #215 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 4:04am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 28th, 2009 at 1:33am:
[...]If anyone would like to help by providing lists of tariffs from their own research (with each option identified separately, accompanied by hyperlinks and page / item references) I would be very grateful. It could be useful for a new thread in this forum to be used to collect this information, so that we can avoid duplicating work.
You may find the information provided by Magenta Systems helpful:

http://www.magsys.co.uk/
http://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/
http://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/residx.htm
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As from November 21, 2013, I no longer participate in the forum and am unable to receive private messages.
 
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #216 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 11:04am
 
idb wrote on Dec 28th, 2009 at 4:04am:
You may find the information provided by Magenta Systems helpful

It is helpful, thank you. Getting a comprehensive list of providers, so that the information provided may be complete is very important.

If anyone comes across some useful information about which of the less well known providers has a significant number of subscribers, so as to make them worthy of inclusion, that would be very helpful.

N.B. I want to be sure that price lists effective as at 1/1/10 are being used and that links/references to these are provided.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #217 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 4:01pm
 
For those of us of a more gadget-loving nature, one of the more prolific VoIP providers, betamax, generally offers free*, untimed, anytime, calls to UK landlines for a period (usually 90 days) after you add credit to your account.  0845 calls are of course always charged.  The particular brand I use has prices here however an independently compiled full list is here

The other big VoIP player is Skype, which is of course now owned by eBay, and their rates are here.


(* I'm assuming I can use the word "free" here, rather than "inclusive", as there is no recurrent charge, and the credit you add to get them is wholly usable for chargeable calls, and carries over for as long as you want it to!)


HTH.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #218 - Jan 1st, 2010 at 8:37am
 
I came across this independent analysis today and thought Forum readers may be interested in this view of the background to our campaign against GPs use of 084/7 numbers :---

"NHS Spending Black Hole

This out of control public sector spending is no better illustrated than the more than tripling of the NHS budget from £37 billion to more than £120 billion, which ignited a Gordon Gecko style greed is good ethos, that gripped the NHS and wider public sector that sought to not only match the private sector in terms of pay but beat [it] when pension entitlements are taken into account.

GP Pay illustrates the greed factor more than anything else that contributed towards the 2009 MP Expenses Scandal. When New Labour came to power in 1997 average MP pay was £43,722 against average NHS GP pay of £44,000, so both were inline with one another at that time. However, in 2003 something started to go seriously wrong with GP Pay which took off into the stratosphere as GP's decided to award themselves pay hikes of more than 30% per annum at tax payers expense that has lifted average GP pay to over £126,000 per annum against £64,000 for MP's.

This was as a consequence of the now infamous GP contracts where basically devious greedy GP's hoodwinked a gullible incompetent Labour government health ministers into signing up to contracts which were meant to deliver greater value for money for the tax payer but were instead designed to do the opposite and resulted in GP's pay doubling whilst at the same time cutting back on hours worked. This was not only a total fiasco for the nations health and finances but also ignited jealousy amongst MP's that directly led to the adoption of the policy of claiming expenses to the maximum so as to fill the ever widening gap between MP's and NHS GP's, as MP's could NOT get away with awarding themselves pay hikes of 30% per annum without losing their seats at the next general election in response to voter outcry, therefore across the board systematic abuse of expenses started to take place which basically means real average MP pay is currently approx £98,000 per annum.

This example illustrates why the Labour party appears destined to leave office with the economy left in the worst state since any time since the Second World War. No British Government since WW2 has run an annual budget deficit of 15% of GDP and it is this deficit as a consequence of the public sector spending black hole that the next Government will have to come to grips with which implies deep spending cuts of as much as 10% or £60 billion.
"
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #219 - Jan 1st, 2010 at 11:14am
 
loddon wrote on Jan 1st, 2010 at 8:37am:
I came across this independent analysis today and thought Forum readers may be interested in this view of the background to our campaign against GPs use of 084/7 numbers

When publishing a lengthy piece it is common courtesy, if not a legal requirement, to identify the source.

The claimed increase in the personal remuneration drawn by partners in General Practices is disputed, indeed I find it hard to credit.

The terms of the revised GP contract are acknowledged to have been a terrible mistake and efforts have been made, with some success, to claw some of this back.

The relevance to our campaign is interesting. I believe that the power held by the BMA GPC, as shown by the quoted achievements in negotiation, has been demonstrated again in the outcome from the consultation. The simple way for a profligate government to have achieved its declared objective of no patient paying a premium rate to contact the NHS would have been for GPs using 0844 number to have been paid off from public funds. This is what happened in 2004, but it has not been repeated.


On the Politics addressed by the posting.

New Labour recognised that to be elected it had to adopt the "greed is good" principle that was seen to have been accepted by the electorate, so as to keep Old Labour out of power. Trying to mix the "Labour" tendency for greater spending on public services that benefited all with the "New" tolerance for lower taxation inevitably led to deficits and increasing government debt. The much criticised "stealth taxes" and increase in NI contributions were insufficient to balance the books. It is arguable as to whether this situation contributed to the "credit crunch" or whether a global financial situation led to the recognition of a situation that was probably bound to be exposed in time anyway. (I personally believe that "the environment" is one of a number of factors that will cause us to have to look more critically at economic growth, which would, and still could, provide the answer to the problem of government debt.)

Whilst a general election has not yet been called and manifestos have not yet been published, I have yet to hear any clear indication from those with any prospect of forming the next government that "greed is good" is to be abolished or that economic growth will not provide a significant part of the solution to the debt problem. The Conservatives have opposed the government's efforts to support growth (or at least limit the impact of recession) through maintained public spending, however they have committed to maintaining spending on the NHS rather than acknowledging that there is a Black Hole that offers potential for saving. It would also appear likely that some GPs have moved into the group that will benefit from the proposed relaxation of inheritance tax (wherever they were educated). In the absence of any clear new vision one must look back to historic principles of the party to see see what direction it may take. After what will be 13 years in power, New Labour lacks the energy to find any new direction and so offers more of the same. The prospect of others having a part in forming a government raises many interesting possibilities, however our voting system and political culture conspire against a truer Politics that enables us to vote with the expectation or hope of our MP playing some part in influencing government, whichever party they may represent. We seem to prefer to have a government representing a minority of voters with a variety of opposition groups that collectively represent an overall majority of voters.



The issue of our campaign with reference to public services is about equity ("social justice", if you will). We argue that the cost of providing access to public services should not be passed to those who use them, it should be covered out of public funds, raised primarily from taxation (now, or if initially by debt then later). I cannot see how any other Political issue is relevant. A Government is responsible for setting principles and political direction, competence in applying principles and achieving desired outcomes is a matter for individual ministers and the civil servant who support them.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #220 - Jan 1st, 2010 at 9:20pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Jan 1st, 2010 at 11:14am:
When publishing a lengthy piece it is common courtesy, if not a legal requirement, to identify the source.



I apologise for forgetting to to identify the source, which is, of course, the Market Oracle :---

http://www.walayatstreet.com/    It is the article dated 31 Dec 2009.   The extract begins 6 or 7 paragraphs from the beginning of the article.

I made no comment myself, expecting Forum readers to draw their own understanding and conclusions from the section presented.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #221 - Jan 2nd, 2010 at 10:45pm
 
Directions to NHS bodies concerning the cost of telephone calls 2009 which came into force on 21st December 2009.

Directions to NHS bodies regarding cost of telephone calls
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #222 - Jan 3rd, 2010 at 9:56am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 28th, 2009 at 1:33am:
I am planning to publish - and provide to all relevant  NHS persoinnel - as complete as possible a list of those telephone tariffs on which callers pay more to call 0845 and 0844 numbers. In addition there will be lists of those where the cost is the same or less.
...
If anyone would like to help by providing lists of tariffs from their own research (with each option identified separately, accompanied by hyperlinks and page / item references) I would be very grateful. It could be useful for a new thread in this forum to be used to collect this information, so that we can avoid duplicating work.

I now have ready a draft of the information that I intend to publish later today. If anyone would like to assist in checking and perhaps correcting it, I would be delighted to send them a copy. If so, please contact me by PM or email.

I will post links to the published version in due course.
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loddon
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #223 - Jan 5th, 2010 at 11:37am
 
No NHS TRUST, Strategic Health Authority, Special Health Authority or Primary Care Trust (all NHS Bodies) may use any 084 number!!!!!


On 21st December 2009 the Department of Health issued its "Directions" which came into force on the same date stating that all NHS Bodies must stop using 084 numbers if any "person" might be charged more than for a normal geographic call.  

The "Directions" did not explicitly ban the use of 084 numbers.   Instead they required each NHS Body to examine tariffs and call charges and decide for themselves whether "persons" (they mean patients and all callers) will not pay more than the equivalent cost of a geographic number.

This means that hundreds of "Bodies" all over the country must carry out the same amount of work in complete duplication and is a massive waste of time, work and money --- all at a time when public expenditure is under immense pressure and costs and expenses should be reduced NOT increased.

David Hickson the campaigner has offered to save all these "Bodies" much of this unnecessary duplication of work and cost by providing a comprehensive analysis of the tariffs and cost considerations involved.    He has sent them directly to all the Bodies and also published them here :---

http://davidhicksonmedia.blogspot.com/2010/01/use-of-revenue-sharing-084x-teleph...

Put simply, the analysis shows that NO NHS Body can use any 084 number!!
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #224 - Jan 5th, 2010 at 12:04pm
 
Further to my previous posting I must observe that this whole exercise by the Department of Health, which has followed the "fact-finding" exercise announced in Parliament in January 2008 and the "Consultation" which commenced in December 2008, has been a massive unnecessary delay and waste of time and public money.    It could all have been done so much more quickly and easily years ago and saved millions of patients the cost and aggravation of having to call these rip-off numbers which should never have been used in the first place.

Unfortunately, this issuance of "Directions" does not deal with the problem properly and it can clearly be seen what  incompetent idiots the Secretary of State, Andy Burnham and his predecessor, Alan Johnson, are and how they have failed to look after the interests and health of the public.    They have failed in their duty.    These "Directions", signed by NIck Hall, obviously a useless jobsworth senior civil servant in the DoH, give these NHS Bodies until December 2010 to carry out this task of looking at call costs and tariffs and deciding what they are going to do about them.    A task which David Hickson has already carried out for them within 2 weeks of the "Directions" being issued.    The "Directions" also give the NHS Bodies the get-out of offering to call people back if requested which just goes to show what a lot of shysters, con men and scam artists all the current Ministers and their civil servants in the DoH are!!.

What is needed is a proper ban on use of all 084/7 numbers within the NHS and throughout government departments and agencies and ALL Public Bodies immediately.
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« Last Edit: Jan 5th, 2010 at 1:07pm by loddon »  
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