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Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consultation (Read 192,775 times)
Dave
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #75 - Mar 8th, 2009 at 1:45pm
 
Another MP is backing the ban:

http://www.adriansanders.org/adriansandersmp/2009/02/bay-mp-calls-fo.html

Adrian Sanders: Bay MP calls for ban on 084 numbers in the NHS

Following the Department of Health’s recent announcement that it is to review how people contact NHS services, Torbay MP has called for the use of expensive 084 numbers to be stopped.

084 numbers cost the caller more than the standard local rate but do provide extra functions such as allowing effective management of a large volume of calls. However, there are fears that the numbers are being used as a money making exercise by the NHS, taking money from vulnerable patients.

Ofcom even introduced 03 numbers in 2007 to provide the same functions as 084 numbers but at the same rate as local calls.

Adrian has praised local services in Torbay, which have steered clear of charging patients, but NHS Direct, the national helpline, uses an 084 number.

The Government is seeking the views of staff and patients on this issue and Adrian is encouraging everyone with an interest to respond to the consultation at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolic...

Adrian commented: “The principle of the NHS is a free service at the point of use. 084 numbers are more likely to impact on vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled and they should not have to pay more than the local rate to contact vital health services.”
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #76 - Mar 8th, 2009 at 1:54pm
 
And another one:

http://www.labouronline.org/wibs/164727/7f87882e-7f05-b434-a568-db1e1c6e7b57

MP urges Government and Harlow GPs to scrap 084 Phone Numbers - 15 January 2009

Bill Rammell MP today wrote to all Harlow GP surgeries advertising 084 phone numbers and to the Government urging them to scrap a system which charges patients more than an equivalent cost of a local call to make a doctors appointment, and generates income through revenue-sharing schemes.

In a consultation running until March 09, the Department of Health are currently considering banning the use of 084 numbers in the NHS.

Mr Rammell said: “I feel this system of making money from patients who simply want to phone up to make a doctors appointment is grossly unfair, and I am pleased that the Government are looking at options to change the rules. The NHS in general and GPs have seen a huge increase in funding under this Government. These phone number rip-offs are unjustified.

I have responded to the Government’s consultation, urging them to stop this unfair practice and I have also written to those surgeries in Harlow who advertise revenue-earning phone numbers.

GPs undertake vital and valuable work in our community but I am urging them to reconsider their position on this issue. “

Four surgeries in Harlow advertise 084 numbers – Lister Medical Centre, Barbara Castle Medical Centre, Broadley Health Centre and The Hamilton Practice at Keats House.

A petition on the Prime Minister’s Number 10 website objecting to this practice has attracted over 28,500 signatures.
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« Last Edit: Mar 8th, 2009 at 1:57pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #77 - Mar 8th, 2009 at 1:58pm
 
http://www.andyreedmp.org.uk/30564.html?itemid=104636&listingid=32293&feedid=332...

Welcome for GP 084 number consultation.

Andy Reed today welcomed news that the Department for Health would consult on the use of 084 numbers in GP surgeries and the NHS in England.

"I have received a number of complaints about the use of premium rate numbers by GPs. I have asked the PCT to investigate in th past and raised this with Ministers. There are a few surgeries locally which use these numbers which cost more than a local call especially when called from a mobile. It seems as thought the government want to end GPs using these and I welcome that. Already people are chatting about this on my face book site. It seems GP access is still an issue!"
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #78 - Mar 8th, 2009 at 1:59pm
 
http://bexleylibdems.org.uk/news/000130/lib_dem_calls_for_end_of_084_telephone_n...

Lib Dem calls for end of 084 telephone numbers by doctors surgeries

1.34.07am GMT Sat 20th Dec 2008

Old Bexley & Sidcup Liberal Democrat candidate is calling for an end to the use of 084 numbers by NHS services, including GPs surgeries.

Duncan Borrowman says: "0844 and 0845 numbers can cost mobile phone users 35p a minute. Many 0845 lines now hold you in a queuing system, which can cost you extortionate rates while you are on hold to make an appointment.

"The Department of Health has launched a 3-month consultation on the abolition of the use of these lines in the NHS, and I urge local residents to respond to the consultation calling for a ban on their use."
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #79 - Mar 9th, 2009 at 11:06pm
 
It may be going too far to suggest that the ban has support from within a PCT, however the following item has just popped up in Google from the West Hertfordshire PCT website -

Official consultation on 084 numbers

The copy includes many quotations, but is original in its arrangement and comment. I may be biased, but I would suggest that whilst there is a proper degree of objectivity, the tone and structure of the piece leaves the reader in little doubt about the sympathies of the author.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #80 - Mar 10th, 2009 at 9:25am
 
I emailed the consultation team re the meeting due to take place in London and asked the following questions 1) why were the industry and public being kept apart. 2) Why were their not regional meetings. 3) No mention in the invitation of 03 alternative.

I apend their reply which may be of interest:

Quote:
Dear Sir,

Firstly thank you for your email and your interest in the consultation.

The reason that we decided to hold one event for the public and one for industry was to try and focus the conversation on each party’s respective points of view.  The thinking behind this was not about keeping the two parties apart, but allowing their views and ideas to be captured as effectively as possible.

London was simply chosen as the location because of its transportation links – the venue itself it located near major train and underground stations allowing good access.  Unfortunately we are unable to hold the events in multiple locations and apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused.

The consultation itself is focused at looking into the problem of using 084 numbers in the NHS and exploring all of the potential alternatives.  One of those alternatives is the use of 03 numbers.  Within the full consultation document this is discussed and it covers the functionality that the 03 numbers can provide.  The invitation letter was meant to give a very quick overview of the events and the consultation.  The full explanation of the subject and the consultation itself is provided online which was highlighted in the letter.  The full consultation booklets will also be available to all attendees at the events.

Kind regards

The 084 Numbers Consultation Team, Department of Health
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« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2009 at 11:56am by Dave »  
 
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #81 - Mar 13th, 2009 at 9:08pm
 
If anyone would like to go along to the consultation event on Thursday, then please drop them an email. Details here.

The event is at Bonhill House, 1-3 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4BX from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #82 - Mar 13th, 2009 at 9:42pm
 
Quote:
However, the Government recognises that the extra functions offered by numbers such as those from the 084 range can improve access to services for patients. We wish to find out how valuable people think the enhanced functions provided by 084 numbers are, and how they might otherwise be provided without patients having to pay more than the cost of dialling a normal geographical number.
What a load of clap-trap. All of these 'extra functions' can be provided on virtually any telephone number, be it 01, 02, 03, 07, 08 or 09. My primary care physician operates a telephone system with all the features one would expect, on a standard area code. Many health care providers here will also provide a toll-free number for those patients calling from outside the local calling area, where the call may otherwise be considered as regional or long distance.

About the only reason for 08/09 numbering, in terms of 'enhanced fuctions' is when it is likely that thousands of simultaneous calls take place to a given number - telephone voting and the like.

A surgery does not need an 08 number as it can provide exactly the same facility on a geographic number. Unfortunately, Ofcom has drilled into people the belief that for any 'enhanced service', a NGN is required. This is simply not the case, however NEG exploits this false belief.
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« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2009 at 1:58am by idb »  

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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #83 - Mar 14th, 2009 at 12:09am
 
idb wrote on Mar 13th, 2009 at 9:42pm:
What a load of clap-trap.

Fear not. There will be many at the consultation event for the industry next Thursday morning ready to talk about how they provide systems such as this, without the need for non-geographic numbers.

Whilst those who could use geographic numbers choose 03 (e.g. the Met Police, which could have chosen any 020 number) I am not prepared to totally dismiss the possibility of some benefit being available from non-geographic numbers, other than geographic anonymity.

NEG claims that the features of Surgery Line work equally well on 03 numbers, which is good enough for me. If some want to take the argument one step further, then fair enough. I do not want to get involved in trying to take the issue too far, at the risk of losing the battle for the sake of some extra ground that is not strictly necessary.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #84 - Mar 14th, 2009 at 3:07am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Mar 6th, 2009 at 3:12pm:
Further to the main consultation process the Department of Health has now announced that there will be two public "events" on 19 March 2009 in London. One for the telecomms industry, the other for "others",

These events, which are announced here, are intended to help inform the consultation process.

Given that the intention is for these events to be relatively small, I fear that the open nature of the invitation will either cause many to be disappointed, or for many further events to have to be arranged.
With the public "events" close, it may be worth reminding ourselves of the capabilities of NEG:

http://www.assemblywales.org/standards-report-e.pdf

Originally posted in the 2006 thread:

http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1146620207

Paragraph 6 is somewhat amusing:

<<
All the GPs at the Practice are self-employed and contracted to work in the
NHS in Wales. The cost of maintaining the NEG system (nearly £600 per month)
is met wholly from the Practice funds although the Practice does receive back
nearly £300 a month from NEG. The net cost to the Practice is therefore over
£300 per month which means that over a seven –year period each of the
Partners in the Practice will pay out of their own finances around £5,000 to
help fund the new telecommunications service.
>>
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #85 - Mar 14th, 2009 at 3:39am
 
idb wrote on Mar 14th, 2009 at 3:07am:
With the public "events" close, it may be worth reminding ourselves of the capabilities of NEG:

NEG have constructed a clever little scheme, which is not so easy to attack fairly as some may believe.

It is however wholly unacceptable in the context of a NHS "free at the point of need". The Department of Health recognised this in the context of 0870 numbers, however they seemed to wholly miss the fact that the revenue share on 0844 numbers was not a free gift from the telephone companies. Thanks to the efforts of very many campaigners, the DH now understands what is going on.

The only arguments against a ban on use of 084 numbers that can be put forward require the principle of "free at the point of need" to be seriously compromised. These are charges imposed by individual NHS providers for access to NHS services and as such are wholly unacceptable.

Whatever we may feel about prescription charges, these are universal (in each territory) and imposed by the relevant legislative body, with exemptions based loosely on need and ability to pay.

Car parking charges are wholly unacceptable for those who need to park a car to access NHS services. In other cases they may simply be a charge for the service of car parking at the normal rate for the area. There are cases where the rate of charge is a rip-off, but that type of over-charging applies to the provision of car parking facilities in many places, it is not a charge for NHS services.

These other issues represent worthy points for discussion in their own right, but they do not provide any relevant precedent for providers, especially indendent contractors, charging for access to NHS services.

I understand that representatives of NEG will be attending the Thursday morning event.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #86 - Mar 14th, 2009 at 1:19pm
 
Dave wrote on Mar 13th, 2009 at 9:08pm:
If anyone would like to go along to the consultation event on Thursday, then please drop them an email. Details here.

The event is at Bonhill House, 1-3 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4BX from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

I should emphasise that the afternoon event is for the public. There is also an event on the same day in the morning for the industry. I think it is particularly important for providers of these telephone systems to attend to help the DH to understand what is possible, because, as we know there are a lot of myths and nonsense about.

Whether or not these services can be provided on geographical numbers is not such an important question. If the only non-geographical numbers give the providers of the GP's telephone numbers generate the same level of payment, then that will create a level playing field. At the moment, it is skewed towards the 0844/5 non-geographicals because of the revenue benefits.

I am quite sure that any telephone system provider that can offer their solution using a geographical number will do so because this is a good selling point. I am sure that surgeries don't want to change their local number which patients know. The non-geographical numbers are also longer making them harder to remember.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #87 - Mar 17th, 2009 at 8:26am
 
Dave wrote on Mar 13th, 2009 at 9:08pm:
If anyone would like to go along to the consultation event on Thursday, then please drop them an email. Details here..


I am planning to attend this meeting in London and I know that our esteemed Forum member SCV is also attending.    Are any other members of this Forum planning to attend?

It could be useful for us to get together prior to the meeting for a laugh and perhaps a discussion on what needs to be said and our approach, and maybe retire to a suitable location afterwards to ruminate, mull over, celebrate or complain about the meeting and how it was conducted.

You are welcome to let us know by posting on this thread or by sending a private message if you prefer.   We would be delighted to meet up with other Forum members.   This is a rare opportunity and it is important to have a bit of fun from time to time.
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« Last Edit: Mar 17th, 2009 at 3:45pm by Dave »  
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #88 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 10:56pm
 
The database lists quite a few alternatives for surgeries. It is interesting to note that the menus for many of these are actually on the 01/02 numbers rather than the 0844s.

So the 0844 number queues a call until a line becomes free at the surgery at which point the caller is presented with the menu. If they wish to speak to the nurse, for example, they must wait in the queue behind everyone else who may be calling the receptionist to book an appointment.

Quite an inefficient system, there to keep patients in a queue generating revenue me thinks.

If these 0844 numbers are really there for network queuing, then the menu should be network based as well. Selecting individual menu options should put the call through to different geographical (direct dialling in) numbers at the surgery.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #89 - Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:11pm
 
Members of this Forum may be interested in the response to the Consultation published by a certain Mr hickson here : ---

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davidhickson/NHS.Patient/DH%20consultation%20respon...

I heartily recommend it for a cracking good read, the many points it makes, the comments on the Consultation Document itself and the depth of analysis presented.   I hold marginally different views on some aspects but am substantially in agreement with his response.

In my view the NHS would be making a grave error of judgement if they were not to impose a ban on all 08 numbers throughout the NHS itself and any agencies or Charities which receive part of their funding from the NHS.     If they were to decide not to implement a total ban and very quickly then they would deserve to have the wrath of the Gods and the good members of this Forum  descend upon them.    The resultant anger and protest would be catastrophic for the NHS.   However, I am sure they will see the correct way forward as this time there are NO excuses.

It will be interesting to see to what extent the report promised by the end of this month reflects and incorporates the content of this response.
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