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Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consultation (Read 193,148 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #90 - Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:36pm
 
loddon wrote on Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:11pm:
Members of this Forum may be interested in the response to the Consultation

The web site in question is ready and able to host other responses that may be thought worthy of attention.

Please send them, with some indication of consent to publication, to the email address given below. Material relating to the consultation is indexed at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davidhickson/NHS.Patient/Consultation%20Links.htm.

N.B. It is not the policy of the Department of Health (or indeed other government departments) to publish individual consultation respsonses.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #91 - Apr 5th, 2009 at 5:12pm
 
The consultation and the proposed ban covers NHS bpdies as well as contractors such as GPs.

Dave wrote on Apr 5th, 2009 at 4:41pm:
Source: Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

http://www.midyorks.nhs.uk/NR/rdonlyres/FDA3BBB5-CBD8-4D8A-8F14-010F37D10B1E/697...

Freedom of information Act request

Income generated from use of 0844 telephone numbers


The 0844 number covers all of our hospitals and enables us to better manage the large volume of calls we receive from patients and visitors in a quicker and more efficient way.

Our four hospitals serve a population of more than half a million people and the benefit of having our current system means that we not only have the capacity to take a large number of calls at any one time, but callers only have one number to remember when contacting any of our hospitals.

Because we know that some telephone providers now have lower standard rates and cheaper packages, we have publicised the direct telephone numbers for our wards and departments for anyone who has these inclusive packages. These have been made available to our local GPs and to our patients when they attend their appointment. We have also advertised in the Yellow Pages and we are looking at advertising in other directories.

We have also posted a contact form on our website for patients so that they can change or amend an appointment, or make a general enquiry, without picking up the phone.

Since the introduction of the 0844 number in summer 2006, the Trust has received income in the region of £82k. This money has been reinvested into services at the Trust to ensure that we deliver high quality care to our patients.


Response issued by
Assistant director of corporate affairs
5 February 2009

One must assume that the Trust will have no problem making up for the loss of this wholly improper source of income, and perhaps meeting further costs that have been funded in the same improper manner, when it changes over to a 03 number in the very near future.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #92 - Apr 22nd, 2009 at 6:03pm
 
Source: Fenland Citizen

http://www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk/news/5-phone-bill-to-make.5189012.jp

£5 phone bill to make doctor's appointment

Published Date: 22 April 2009
By sarah cliss

A WOMAN has blasted a local doctor's surgery after racking up nearly £5 in phone charges trying to make an appointment.

The woman, who is in her fifties and from Emneth but doesn't want to be named, is furious that calling the North Brink Surgery in Wisbech cost her just under £5 when she tried to make an appointment.

She said: "I started trying to get an appointment by ringing the surgery from about 8.30am.

"But all I could get through to was an answering service, which told me all the operators were busy and to call back later.

"I know that if you don't get through first thing in the morning all the appointments are gone. So I just kept calling, and calling until I eventually got through.

"I didn't realise just how much it was costing me. I got the appointment I needed, but I was horrified when my phone bill came and I noticed that every time I had rung the surgery it had cost me 11p plus VAT.

"I totted up the cost of all the calls and it was nearly £5 – I couldn't believe it, I was just incensed."

Now the woman is warning other people to be on their guard against racking up a huge phone bill simply by calling for a doctor's appointment.

"I wouldn't mind if I had been calling a chat line or something, you exptect that to be expensive – but I don't expect to have to pay out nearly £5 to get through to my doctor's surgery.

"I don't have to see the doctor very often but some people aren't so lucky and I just wonder how many realise exactly what it is costing to make an appointment.

"I have been told the practice gets some of the money from the calls, but I don't think it is right that people who are ill are being take advantage of in this way," she added.

Phillip Wearing, North Brink's practice manager, defended the use of the 084-prefixed phone-line.

He said it had been introduced to improve the service offered to patients.

He said the old system had left patients frustrated because they would get the engaged tone if they rang at busy times.

The new system allows up to 10 people to be held in a queue for an appointment at anyone time, which he said was less frustrating.

He said the practice was investigating what happened on the day the woman called to make her appointment and said the system allowed all calls to be tracked.

Mr Wearing also said the practice was awaiting the outcome of a consultation on the use of 084 numbers by the NHS.

He pointed out patients had the option of making an appointment on-line and added that phone call charges varied according to the tariff imposed by the phone operator.

He admitted other patients had raised concerns about the use of a 'premium rate' phone line by the surgery in feedback forms returned to the practice.

He said the practice received a small rebate on calls to the surgery, but this was simply to cover the cost of the system.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #93 - Apr 30th, 2009 at 8:05pm
 
The Consultation on use of 084 telephone numbers in the NHS finished on the 31st March and a Government Response was promised by today, 30th April  2009.

Today the Dept of Health announced that the Response will be delayed here :--- http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Closedconsultations/DH_091879

"Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister of State for Health Services, said:

"The consultation period on the use of 084 numbers in the NHS ended on 31st March 2009.  We have been very pleased with the level of public response to this consultation, having received a much higher volume of responses than expected.  Whilst this is, of course, very positive news in itself in terms of demonstrating the strength of public feeling around this issue, it is important to ensure that in reaching an outcome, we fully take into account the breadth of responses received.  We are currently analysing those responses as quickly as possible in order to identify the most appropriate course of action, and the outcome of this will be communicated as early as possible."



The only reason for any delay that is offered is that the analysis of responses will take longer than expected.   That might not be entirely unreasonable (although the DH have had four and a half months already to look at the responses as they appeared and to have modified their plans in order to minimise any delay) in view of the higher volume of responses.   In my opinion what is unacceptable is the utter inadequacy of this announcement.


    • There is no indication of how many reponses have been received compared with the number expected.

    • There is no indication of how much longer the analysis will take.  As all responses were received by the end of March and many must have been received during the previous three and a half months, there has been plenty of time to assess the amount of work and time that will be needed.
    • No new publication date is offered
    .

This is an entirely unnecessary and unsubstantiated delay which is made much worse by leaving it open ended.    

This amounts to gross incompetence by the Department.    Having initially stated a date for publication it is mandatory by all reasonable professional standards to revise the plan and announce a new completion date.      It is malpractice to leave out altogether any end date .    This must be the logical deduction because otherwise the Department knows full well what is required but it is employing crass and manipulative delaying tactics.

This is not an area of pioneering research or difficult technical, medical or ethical issues.    This a consultation on implementing a ban on certain telephone numbers.   This is about action which is already being considered and on which the public are demanding a decision.

There is no justification for not being honest and open with a keenly interested public.    This is the very opposite of open and consultative government.   Instead of keeping the public informed the public are being kept in the dark.



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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #94 - May 4th, 2009 at 9:40am
 
Having just started to watch the BBC daily soap Doctors, it occured to me that this series would be the ideal place for this issue of 0844 versus normal telephone numbers to be discussed in a dramatic sense. The BBC could show all the behind the scenes bribery made by telephone companies, the effects of having to pay for these calls by people on low incomes, etc, etc.

It would get the true facts out to millions of people who have probably never even given these numbers any thought.

Any opinions?
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #95 - May 4th, 2009 at 10:52am
 
poppasmurf wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 9:40am:
It would get the true facts out to millions of people who have probably never even given these numbers any thought.

Any opinions?



Millions? Are you telling us that millions watch a day time soap when at it's best an evening soap will only attract a few million? Grin


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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #96 - May 4th, 2009 at 11:06am
 
Is this the BBC who for years asked the pulic to dial 0870 numbers to contact them?  They probably would still use them but for people from this forum lobbying against it, so I think the suggestion has probably not got legs! (and the BBC still use 0871 numbers for various contacts such as Saturday Kitchen-may be the wrong program title)
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #97 - May 4th, 2009 at 11:14am
 
sherbert wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 10:52am:
poppasmurf wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 9:40am:
It would get the true facts out to millions of people who have probably never even given these numbers any thought.

Any opinions?



Millions? Are you telling us that millions watch a day time soap when at it's best an evening soap will only attract a few million? Grin




Yes, especially now since it's repeated on BBC HD at 6pm.  And, I think, the BBC has started to learn from it's mistakes. It is after all the largest organisation to start using 03 numbers on virtually all its contact numbers - or is that a fallacy?
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sherbert
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #98 - May 4th, 2009 at 12:40pm
 
poppasmurf wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 11:14am:
sherbert wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 10:52am:
poppasmurf wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 9:40am:
It would get the true facts out to millions of people who have probably never even given these numbers any thought.

Any opinions?



Millions? Are you telling us that millions watch a day time soap when at it's best an evening soap will only attract a few million? Grin





Yes, especially now since it's repeated on BBC HD at 6pm.  And, I think, the BBC has started to learn from it's mistakes. It is after all the largest organisation to start using 03 numbers on virtually all its contact numbers - or is that a fallacy?




Well, Doctors does not appear in the top 30 in the viewing figures, and at number 29 and 30 are programmmes called 'Flog It' and 'Department Store' and they are viewed by 1.28 million people. So not quite sure where them 'millions' of viewers from 'Doctors' comes from. Probably more like hundreds! Grin
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« Last Edit: May 4th, 2009 at 12:42pm by sherbert »  
 
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #99 - May 4th, 2009 at 12:45pm
 
sherbert wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 12:40pm:
Well, Doctors does not appear in the top 30 in the viewing figures, and at number 29 and 30 are programmmes called 'Flog It' and 'Department Store' and they are viewed by 1.28 million people. So not quite sure where them 'millions' of viewers from 'Doctors' comes from. Probably more like hundreds! Grin


Alright, so it's only 765,482 viewers. So what!  It was only an idea for goodness sake. If it's a daft idea, then so be it.  Surely, any publicity against 08 numbers should be welcome, but if you don't agree then go and find another way of reaching 765,482 people. Good luck, and maybe I'll rubbish your idea!

PS. According to Wikipedia, Doctors gets an audience of between 1.25 and 1.5 million viewers every day. In addition, it is also shown on the satellite channel Watch, which will add many more viewers to the total.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #100 - May 4th, 2009 at 1:09pm
 
Poppasmurf, I was only winding you up. Of course I take your point Smiley
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #101 - May 6th, 2009 at 9:21pm
 
Another story from E-Health Insider yesterday: DH delays 084 number decision
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #102 - Jun 11th, 2009 at 8:53am
 
Pulse Today continues to monitor and report on the Consultation :----


http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=23&storycode=4122956&c=2

DH delays 084 decision after 'huge response'

10 Jun 09

By Steve Nowottny

The Department of Health has been forced to delay a decision on whether to ban GP surgeries using 084 numbers after receiving an ‘exceptionally high’ number of responses to its consultation, Pulse has learned.

The department had been due to publish its decision, which could affect telephone numbers at around 1,500 GP practices across the UK, by the end of April.


But the department’s 084 consultation team revealed in an email: ‘We have received approximately 3,000 responses to the overall consultation which is many more than we had anticipated getting, and which we understand from the central consultation team is an exceptionally high response rate to a departmental consultation.’

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed a ‘huge response’ had prompted the delay, but was unable to say when the outcome of the consultation would be published.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #103 - Jun 19th, 2009 at 9:18am
 
An interesting exchange in the Commons Committee on the Health Bill, which places a duty on NHS organisations and their contractors (e.g. GPs) to "have regard to" the NHS Constitution.

The Constitution includes "You have the right to receive NHS services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions sanctioned by parliament".

Mike O'Brien, the Minister of State, was asked by one of his own backbenchers about the absence of a sanction for use of revenue sharing telephone numbers. The question of when a response to the consultation would be provided was also raised (although this had nothing to do with the debate in progress), which enabled O'Brien to duck the main question.

In relation to the consultation response the following was said:
Quote:
We will shortly announce the outcome, but I do not have the date for that announcement. I hope to look at the issue in some detail in the near future, and I hope that we will then be able to announce how we intend to pursue it.

The Hansard text of the exchanges is published here.

If anyone knows the identity of the mystery campaigner who engaged with the Minister on this topic during the lunchtime adjournment to the proceedings, it would be of great interest to hear what was said. It was not the person named.
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Re: Doctors' phone line use reviewed - DH consulta
Reply #104 - Jul 1st, 2009 at 9:50am
 
Copy of letter sent to members of the press.

The DoH Consultation on banning 084 Numbers within the NHS

The Consultation originally promised that the results of the Consultation would be published by the end of April.   That date has been missed by a mile and there is absolutely no indication from the DoH when these results will be published.   I have asked them repeatedly for a new publication date and they have obstinately refused to give any date while pathetically saying that they will publish soon.    This is totally unacceptable, in my view.   It insults the public by not providing a revised date, by witholding the actual responses to the public consultation and is totally contrary to the promises of more open and transparent government by the current Prime Minister.

The DoH continues to hide behind the excuse that the response to this Consultation was so large they were overwhelmed and are still analysing the results.   This is patently untrue.   They have admitted privately that the analysis was completed well before the end of April and a report was placed before the Minister at that time.   What is happening now looks like political prevarication and obfuscation with the intention of keeeping the public in the dark.   Suspicions are being aroused that there is deliberate delay and scheming to mislead the public.

This matter is crying out for thorough investigation and for the DoH to be called upon to open up on what was supposed to be a public consultation.   The public needs to know what was said in response to the consultation as well as the responses from the medical and DoH people and the Telecomms industry, taking account of commercial confidentiality of course.    

It may be that the DoH is still working on how to actually implement a ban on 084 numbers within the NHS but this is not an acceptable excuse for witholding the results of what was said to the consultation given that the results were promised by April.   There is no reason why they should not publish the responses and analysis of the consultation now!    If necessary an accompanying statement could say what they need to say about action or decisions that are ongoing work.

The Government has been forced recently to be more open with trivial matters such as MPs expenses but is that lesson being learned in regard to straightforward matters of public consultation???   This unexpained and unjustified delay together with an absence of honest open communication is now looking very bad for the Government.   The attitude shown by the DoH makes a mockery of the whole idea and purpose of Public Consultation.    We need and demand a statement NOW.
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