NHS Direct

Health written question – answered on 25th February 2010.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost of a call to NHS Direct was in 2009.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health

The information requested is not collected. Calls to NHS Direct cost a maximum of 5p per minute from a BT landline. Mobiles and other networks may vary.

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David Hickson
Posted on 3 Mar 2010 4:28 pm (Report this annotation)

If NHS Direct would provide a breakdown of when calls are received, and their assumptions about how many call from BT Landlines / Other landlines / Mobiles / Payphones, then an average figure could be produced.

What can be said with confidence is that only callers from BT landlines perhaps pay less to call the 0845 4647 number used, than they would to call the alternative 0345 4647, which is configured and ready for use. All other callers pay more.. That is why the alternative must be made available immediately.

Figures used by HM Government suggest that the overall average cost to callers is at least 50% greater with the 0845 number, than a geographic or 03 number. This is because there is around 18.5p per call earned in revenue share. NHS Direct alleges that it gifts this money to BT GLobal Services. See my NHS.Patient Blog.