Recieved a response to a petition I signed a while back, and for a change, the government have something good to say...
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent local health centres and hospitals from using 08 numbers such as 0844, 0845 or 0870.”
“Local health centres and NHS medical practices should be banned from using 08 numbers or offer a local 01 or 02 number alternative for booking appointments, as health centres make a profit using these numbers. For example, an 0870 number costs 10 pence per minute (whereby 4.5pence per minute goes to the local hospital).”
The Department of Health proposes to ban the use of premium rate numbers by NHS organisations. It has recently consulted on the use of 084 numbers in the NHS. The Department’s response to the consultation was published on 14 September, and is available on its website at: www.dh.gov.uk
by typing ‘084 consultation response’ into the search bar.
The Department received approximately 3,000 responses to the consultation exercise; 2,000 from members of the public, a further 1,000 from the NHS, and a small number of responses from industry and other stakeholder organisations.
The consultation demonstrated that there is overwhelming support for the banning of numbers which cost the patient more to call than if they had called a normal geographical number (for example, numbers beginning 01 or 02). As a result of the consultation, the Department intends to amend legislation to stop the use of any telephone numbers which charge patients more to contact the NHS than the equivalent call to a geographical number. This will be enforced through amendments to the GP contract regulations, and the issuing of Directions to NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).
The ban will be enforced as soon as the necessary legislative changes can be made. This will be early next year for GP Practices, but as soon as practically possible for NHS Trusts and PCTs. The Department’s ongoing position on this issue has been that patients should not be expected to pay more than the equivalent cost of calling a geographical number, and, in the meantime, Ministers expect NHS organisations to continue to take this into account.
Okay, it wasnt a result of the petition because the wheels were already in motion to legislate the change, but it is nice to see the government actually working in the interests of normal people.Number10.gov.uk Petition