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19 June 2013

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Practices can switch from premium-rate numbers

Practice managers using a Surgery Line 0844 number have been assured they may switch numbers on request.
As NHS England prepares to take action against GPs who continue to use 0844 numbers, the system’s owner, the Daisy Group, said it is possible to switch to an 01, 02, or 03 number.
Previous reports suggested GPs would be forced to continue to use 0844 numbers because they were locked into contracts.
A Daisy Group spokesperson said: “Surgery line customers are not forced to continue to use the 0844 numbers until their long-term contracts end – it is open to them to move to a geographic number on request.
“Such customers can switch, free of charge, to numbers charged at the geographic rate.”
NHS England said it is in the process of delivering a “range of strategies” that can be used by practices to help them move away from 0844 numbers.
Since the 2010 GP contract in England and Wales practices are supposed to ensure patients pay no more than the cost of a call to a geographic number.