Surgeries' hone numbers should be local
THE Government has now commented on the use by doctors surgeries - among others - of non-geographic 0844 numbers and 0870 numbers for overseas calls.The Government says: Responsibility for provision of local health services now rests with local NHS org
THE Government has now commented on the use by doctors' surgeries - among others - of non-geographic 0844 numbers and 0870 numbers for overseas calls.
The Government says: "Responsibility for provision of local health services now rests with local NHS organisations, as they have the specific knowledge and expertise that makes them best placed to plan, develop and improve services according to the needs of the local population. The provision of telephone services for patients and the public is therefore a matter for the local NHS.
"However, the message from the Department of Health has made it very clear to NHS organisations that patients should not be expected to pay more than the equivalent of a local call to contact their GPs.
"NHS organisations have a duty to ensure that they provide the best possible service to their local populations. We expect primary care trusts and GPs to ensure locally that telephone systems do not place a financial burden on patients."
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Surgeries within Cambridgeshire are still using these numbers. I have asked Cambridgeshire PCT to ensure that this practice stops forthwith or, if not, to say what other action it will be taking over what time scale.
J R OLIVER
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