NHS: Telephone Services

Health written question – answered on 30th April 2008.

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Photo of Julia Goldsworthy Julia Goldsworthy Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Department for Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department provides to (a) primary care trusts and (b) service providers on their use of numbers with the prefix (i) 0845 and (ii) 087.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health

General medical services (CMS) contractors were banned from using premium rate numbers (09 or 087) via The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SI 2005 No. 893. The ban came into force in April 2005 but did not include 084 numbers.

On 19 December 2006 the Department wrote to primary care trust chief executives advising them that the Department was reviewing the use of non-geographical telephone numbers in light of the consultation carried out by Ofcom; and re-iterating the Government's position that

"patients should not be expected to pay more than the equivalent of a local call".

The Department is currently gathering evidence on the use of 0844 numbers in general practice and will consider what further action is necessary in light of that evidence.

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