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General Practitioners: Telephone Services

Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GP surgeries use 0844 and 0845 telephone numbers for calls from members of the public; and if he will make a statement. (247307)

The Department does not hold this information centrally and it cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost. However the Department remains clear that it does not expect patients to pay more than the equivalent cost of a local rate call when contacting their general practitioner.

We recently launched a public consultation on the intention to prohibit the use of 084 numbers in the national health service. This will run from 16 December 2008 until 31 March 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use of 0844 numbers by GPs’ surgeries; and if he will make a statement. (248435)

An information gathering exercise was completed in 2008 on the use of 084 telephone numbers in general practice. The information gathered was the subject of lengthy and detailed analysis before being shared with Ministers.

The Department subsequently launched a public consultation on the intention to prohibit the use of 084 numbers in the national health service. This will run from 16 December 2008 until 31 March 2009.