Patients charged premium rates to call doctor’s surgeries

12:20 08 November 2012

Darren Wilby pays 41p per minute to phone his local surgery. Picture: Steve Poston

Darren Wilby pays 41p per minute to phone his local surgery. Picture: Steve Poston

Archant

Patients are paying a premium in phone charges to book an appointment with their local doctor’s surgery.

As many as 10 medical practices serving Barking and Dagenham use 0844 numbers, which can charge patients up to 41p a minute from a mobile phone.

Although some of the surgeries offer either an alternative local number or a call-back service, patients are often unaware of these options and continue to pay more.

Barking MP Margaret Hodge said: “It’s outrageous that people booking an appointment to see their local GP are being forced to use numbers like the 0844 which charge much higher tariffs.”

Darren Wilby, of Springpond Road, Dagenham, has been a patient at Goodmayes Medical Practice for around five years.

He said he was charged nearly £10 in call costs when using his mobile to book a single appointment with his doctor. “I was absolutely gutted,” said Darren, who is diabetic and regularly visits his GP. “I thought any phone call like that to the doctor’s should be free or local. I’m a taxpayer so why should I pay again?”

Outrageous

The use of higher cost lines go against guidelines laid out in the NHS primary medical services regulations, which state phone contracts must not cause users to “pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number”.

Five practices in Barking and Dagenham use 0844 numbers with no alternative service offered, falling outside of NHS guidelines.

They include: Becontree Medical Centre, The Surgery (Dr Chibber and Gupta), Shifa Medical Practice (Orchard Health Centre), Ripple Road Practice (Dr Ansari) and The Surgery (Dr Arif and Afser).

However, Abbey Medical Centre, Barking Medical Group Practice, Highgrove Surgery and Gables Surgery all provided patients with either a call-back service or an alternative local rate number, the NHS trust said..

A spokesman for NHS North East London and the City, said: “There are a small number of practices in Barking and Dagenham that are still locked into contracts for these numbers.

“We are currently in discussion with the remaining practices to ensure they also follow the guidelines and are compliant with their NHS contract so patients are not being charged more than they should be to call their GP.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London Health news

Library photograph of a baby [Photograph courtesy of Beth/Wikipedia Commons]

A woman is fighting a legal battle to use her dead daughter’s frozen eggs to become pregnant with her own grandchild - in a situation that would be a world-first.

Pigeons carry diseases like Chiamdiosis, similar to flu, and Psittacosis, similar to pneumonia  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

A paramedic rushed to the aid of what he believed was a collapsed woman in Southall only to find a dying pigeon.

The London to Dubai plane was forced to turn around (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has hit out at Heathrow Airport security staff after they confiscated breast milk she had pumped for her young baby.

We previously ran an appeal asking the public to report any sightings of Joshua Packman, a young man who was receiving treatment at a mental health unit in Enfield.

Some of the food Chicken Town will offer (Pic: Kickstarter/Chicken Town)

Chicken-loving youngsters in a deprived borough of north London may soon be able to buy healthy fried chicken, if two restaurateurs get the start-up capital they need.

Whitechapel High Street has more unhealthy businesses next door to one another than anywhere else in London (Pic: Getty Images)

A Whitechapel street has won the dubious title of unhealthiest high street in London, according to a public health body.

17:38pm Wharfdale Road looking towards York Way

Angry neighbours complain about traffic chaos

A teenager was stabbed in the bottom near the Emirates, minutes before Arsenal's Champions league game against Monaco

Knife attack - just prior to Champions League game - fifth in borough this month

Abhishek Varma with the bottle of apple juice

Would you drink a bottle of apple juice if you found fungi floating at the top of it?

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena has been found not guilty of carrying out FGM [Photograph by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire]

The first person in Britain to go on trial for female genital mutilation has been found not guilty.

Pauline Cafferkey, a British nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola on her return from Sierra Leone (Handout/PA Wire)

There are grave concerns for the British nurse who is critical with Ebola after her condition deteriorated over the past few days.

Cockroaches behind refrigeration units

Cockroaches, mice droppings, hobs covered in fat and food left to cool next to bags of rubbish are some of the findings that prompted environmental health officers to shut down this filthy Chinese take-away kitchen.

The woman criticises the anti-abortion campaigners outside the Southwark clinic (Picture: Sunny Hundal/YouTube)

A pregnant woman was filmed criticising anti-abortion protesters outside a south London clinic and it’s awesome.

London Fields Lido has new extended opening hours

London Fields Lido will be open for longer from today after the installation of floodlights.

The £3 pill is for people who drink more than half a bottle of wine or three pints of beer a night  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It’s something many Londoners have wished for on a Sunday morning. Now a pill which helps dampen the desire to drink alcohol is available to people who drink half a bottle of wine or three pints a night or more.

The church based clinics will test Africans for HIV

Four new HIV testing clinics have been opened in African churches in Southwark, New Cross, Wood Green and Dagenham to combat the high rate the disease among the community.

London Ambulance Service said they were called to a pharmacist in a shopping centre on Stratford's Montfitchet Road [Photograph from Google StreetView]

A shopper in Westfield dialled 999 yesterday - because of trapped wind.

The Ebola virus is deadly in 90 per cent of cases (Cynthia Goldsmith/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A patient at St George’s Hospital in Tooting who was being tested for ebola does not have the disease, a Public Health England spokesperson has confirmed.

A medical exercise in York before more than 100 army medics were sent to Sierra Leone to help tackle the Ebola crisis.

A suspected case of Ebola was treated at the Homerton Hospital in July, it was revealed by medical directors this morning.

Marcus Campbell (Pic: @Mr Exposed)

Police blocked more than a hundred angry protestors outside Croydon University Hospital last night who were demonstrating over the care of critically ill 22-year-old Marcus Campbell.

British Ebola sufferer William Pooley is returning to the country where he caught the disease [Picture: Andrew Matthews]

The Ebola survivor who was treated at the Royal Free Hospital has flown back to the country where he caught the deadly virus.

Boris Johnson has been urged to ban smoking in open public spaces in London like Trafalgar Square (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has been urged to ban smoking in thousands of acres of parkland and public open spaces in London like Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square.

Dom Stark tweeted this photo of the 'maternity ward' [Photograph courtesy of @LDN_ambulance]

If you hate being stuck in gridlock, spare a thought for the poor woman who gave birth on the side of the North Circular on Monday.

Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh in discussion with the Prime Minister (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Child poverty has become such a problem in the capital that many parents go without food to feed their children, and some turn to desperate measures.

William Pooley recovered at this specialist unit at the Royal Free (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

The first Briton known to have caught the deadly Ebola virus in the current outbreak has been released from north London’s Royal Free Hospital.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more
You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more
Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more