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About NHSPatient

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  1. Thanks for the compliment. The NHS is established as a national public service, administered locally, now by 50 clustered PCTs in England. It is they who are charged with the public duty of ensuring that its principles are upheld, guided from the centre. As consumerist localism took hold, under the previous government, the degree of central guidance diminished, except in particular narrow areas where the government wished to be (or was thought to be) accountable - i.e. certain arbitrary targets. When these regulations were introduced they were not accompanied by the detailed informat
  2. You make a strong personal point about my objectives and methods. I must therefore assume that you disagree with the point you believe that I am trying to make. I am not totally surprised to find myself encountering opposition in a forum named to reflect a dedication to the pursuit of consumerism. I campaign for our National Health Service funded by progressive taxation, whereas I am sure that consumerists will support the present government's efforts to replace it with a "patient focussed" service which will inevitably have to be primarily funded by patients, as consumers. With the
  3. There is no single answer to the question. It depends on the tariff and the time and duration of the call. In some cases, it also depends on the type of 0844 number. I provide links to published tariffs, so that one may look at whatever examples one feels may be relevant. I offer some examples in a table to illustrate the point that GPs may not use 084 numbers if certain listed examples apply to those who call them. Of the 0844 numbers used by NHS GPs: 1,042 are type "g6", 91 are type "g11", 3 are type "g10" and 2 are type "g8". I only show the charges (in all cases) for the first tw
  4. I have published a table which primarily provides links to published tariffs (so it can be verified), but aims to offer a simple summary. This is found via (apologies for the textual representation) h t t p : / / tiny.cc/GP084Costs. This is simply intended to demonstrate that a GP is unlikely to be able to comply with its contractual requirements by using a 084 number. Because it is prohibited from using a number that is more expensive to call than an equivalent call to a geographic number, "having regard to the arrangement as a whole", it would have to show that none of its callers
  5. Experience suggests that the reply will perhaps include a copy of a letter, identical, or similar, to this circular letter [*1] (there is also a January 2010 version). This is an expression of opinion from an interested party - it has little to do with the reality of the situation which the contractual requirements demand be addressed. It is confirmed as being misleading by recently issued "Further Guidance" from the Department of Health [*2], which includes the following comment in a FAQ: I hope it is considered acceptable for me to provide the links in text form, ra
  6. Conniff If your surgery claimed that calls to 0844 numbers were charged at "local rate" in 2008, then there is little point asking it about the cost of telephone calls, because it clearly knows nothing (or was deliberately seeking to mislead its patients). The distinction between local rate and national rate was abolished in 2004. Calls to 0844 numbers were never charged at "local rate" by any telephone service provider. GPs have no control whatsoever over the charges for calls to any number - unless they themselves provide telephone service to their patients. Every GP that uses
  7. If you were tempted … to suggest that this does not lead invariably to the practice changing its number, apologising to the patient in question and sending a circular letter to all patients promising never to do the same again - then you would have been correct. Pressure is however building to overcome the fierce resistance which has been put up by both the BMA (protecting the financial interests of its members) and the provider of the systems which are funded by this mechanism. They have so far prevented many of the PCTs from properly getting to grips with the issue, but the tide is turn
  8. Since my comment (#23) above the situation has moved on dramatically, although, as birdieboys comment shows, implementation of the new regulations has not been effective. Changes to the contracts held by NHS GPs were introduced with effect from 1 April 2010, prohibiting use of telephone numbers which caused callers to pay more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number. In effect, this amounts to a ban on the use of all 084 numbers at present. With doubt surrounding possible future regulatory changes by Ofcom, the regulations themselves do not specify which number ranges t
  9. Many MPs have signed Early Day Motions as a way of expressing concern about this matter. EDM 108 in the current session EDM 1989 in the previous session The issue was also covered in a debate last Thursday. There are links to the relevant contributions and some personal comments here - Debate on access to primary care 16 Oct 2008 There is a wealth of information on the NHS Patient Web Page
  10. Contributors to this thread may be interested to note that Ofcom has caught UCS making Silent Telephone Calls and issued a Notification of Persistent Misuse of the telephone network. Details are on the Ofcom website at /bulletins/comp_bull_index/comp_bull_ocases/open_all/cw_905/
  11. There is much campaigning activity already underway on this specific issue and many discussion threads in the saynoto0870 Government and Public sector forum There are useful resources for campaigners and others at the resource web site I have given with my registration. (As a visitor/new member, I cannot add a hyperlink) Government action to address this could be said to be pending, following an evidence gathering exercise. I will be happy to help with further information.
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