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doctors 0844

On 14 May 2012 at 4:54pm wanderer wrote:
quoted from the Argus
Sussex patients pay £1.60 an hour to speak to doctor
4:30pm Monday 14th May 2012 in News By Siobhan Ryan, Health Reporter
Patients are paying up to £1.60 a minute to call their GP.
Twenty-five practices out of more than 200 across Sussex are still using 084 telephone numbers instead of standard geographical ones.
The cost of using them is the same as a local call for people using a landline but charges can escalate for those using mobile phones.
Practices have a system in place to ring people back to cut down on the cost of a call but patients say this does not always happen.
Patients using the Park Surgery in Horsham said they had ended up paying out £1.60 a minute because they used their mobile.
Another was charged £1.36 for 17 minutes and more than £1 of this was for when they were left on on hold.
The Department of Health has advised the NHS to avoid using 084 numbers if patients end up paying more to use them.
Surgeries using these numbers have been told to ensure a call back system is available.
A spokesman for NHS Sussex said: ??None of our practices are in breach of their contracts by having an 084 telephone number.
??We are assured that all our practices which use an 084 number offer a call-back system. We regularly audit this.
??We have made practices aware of alternative telephone systems to the 0844 number and continue to encourage them to consider these alternatives as their contract term ends.
??We take our responsibility on this matter very seriously and are currently working with our practices to review what other steps, over and above the contractual requirements, can be taken to ensure there are no barriers to patients contacting their GP practice.?
A statement issued by Park Surgery said: ??We are currently looking into establishing a local number for patients to contact us on.
??While we are advised by BT that our 084 number costs around 2p less per minute than the local rate for the vast majority of telephone contracts, establishing a local number alongside this will ensure that patients have the option to use an alternative number should they choose to do so.
??If a patient has a specific issue and needs to be called back we would expect our staff to be considerate to their needs.?
On 14 May 2012 at 5:00pm Clifford wrote:
Shall we start listing them?
River Lodge Surgery: 08443 878281. 'Today, all the doctors working long-term in the practice share an active Christian faith. It has a central influence in our lives and work.'
On 14 May 2012 at 5:19pm steve watts wrote:
Ripping people off doesnt sound very Christian to me !
On 14 May 2012 at 5:57pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I only found out about this the other week. A client of mine used her last £12 credit trying to make an appointment with the doctor.
I think it's absolutely disgraceful.
I also think it's bad when government departments do it. I believe the HMRC use an 0844 number now. It seems ok to make you pay to get their cock-ups sorted out. After all, we're all in this together, aren't we?
On 14 May 2012 at 6:07pm Southover Queen wrote:
I agree. My telephone contract allows me to call geographical numbers for no additional charge, which is, I imagine, true for a lot of people. Also anyone on a mobile monthly contract will have a large number of free minutes to landlines. I can see no possible reason for a GP surgery not having a plain geographical number: the whole point is that they're local to their patients, isn't it?

The HMRC example is disgraceful, particularly since you can apparently spend hours waiting on hold at busy times. Apparently they can't have a geographical number because of the way the calls are handled, but I understand that the 0345 suffice works just as well and is costed the same as a geographical number so would be far cheaper for most of us. That's what happens if you sack half the blasted staff, I suppose...
On 14 May 2012 at 7:34pm Clifford wrote:
No help with the doctors - but the link below is useful for other numbers.

Check it out here »
On 15 May 2012 at 2:59am Peasant wrote:
You can still get River Lodge reception on 01273 812338.
SQ is absolutely correct about HMRC and their scandalous standards of non-communication with the public.
On 15 May 2012 at 7:39am Pete wrote:
Blame BT, they introduced the number so that we, who have free 0870 and 0800 calls, would have to pay !!
By the way, when ITV introduced this number to their telephone service,they noticed a drop in customer calls, so they reverted to the older 020 number instead.
On 15 May 2012 at 4:33pm wanderer wrote:
thanks peasant for the number update
On 15 May 2012 at 4:54pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
That's a Ringmer number, Peasant. Does it work for the Lewes surgery too?

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