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.”

Latest Stories

34 minutes ago
The 50-year-old man was attacked in Kimberley Road, Kilburn (Picture: Google Streetview)

A have-a-go hero who confronted a gang robbing another man found himself beaten and mugged by the group in Kilburn in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:01
Police believe that Arnis Zalkalns may have information that can help them find Alice Gross

Police investigating the disappearance of Hanwell teenager Alice Gross think that another missing person from Ealing might be able to help their enquiries - if they can find him.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:07
Does he make it through the doors in the nick of time?

Old university friends Noel Carroll and James Heptonstall teamed up to complete the ultimate London fitness challenge - racing the Tube!

Read more

TOP Stories

34 minutes ago
The 50-year-old man was attacked in Kimberley Road, Kilburn (Picture: Google Streetview)

A have-a-go hero who confronted a gang robbing another man found himself beaten and mugged by the group in Kilburn in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Yesterday, 14:01
Police believe that Arnis Zalkalns may have information that can help them find Alice Gross

Police investigating the disappearance of Hanwell teenager Alice Gross think that another missing person from Ealing might be able to help their enquiries - if they can find him.

Yesterday, 16:07
Does he make it through the doors in the nick of time?

Old university friends Noel Carroll and James Heptonstall teamed up to complete the ultimate London fitness challenge - racing the Tube!

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London Bloggers

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.

Friday, August 22, 2014
It turns out painting is the perfect thing to do in bars

I’m somewhat of a casual, lazy and very much amateur painter and after a busy day at work, the prospect of getting all my brushes, acrylics, water and other faff out is far from appealing.

Quizzes

Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more
Diego Costa of Chelsea exchanges words with Cesc Fabregas (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Chelsea have made several personnel changes over the course of the summer as they look to mount a squad that can challenge for the title.

Read more