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    Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:39
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    Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Monday, 18 June 2018 17:31

telephoneMarch 16 2015

The Scottish Government is asking for views on whether 084 numbers should be replaced by 030 numbers or geographical dialling codes for GP practices. It is also asking for views on GP practices’ call handling systems.

Introducing the consultation, the Scottish Government says that its policy “has always been to ensure that patients are not financially disadvantaged when contacting their GP practice.” However, as charges can vary between landlines and mobile phones, the consultation is intended “to ensure that the regulatory framework regarding the use of certain telephone number ranges by GP practices remains fit for purpose.”

Regulations were introduced to ensure that ‘premium-rate’ numbers (starting 087, 090 091 or 070) cannot be used. The 084 numbers was introduced as it was not classified as premium rate by Ofcom and allowed GP practices extra functionality.

However, developments in telecommunications mean functionality such as handling large call volumes, providing access to out of hours services and automated appointment booking can now be provided on standard ‘geographic’ numbers.

“The current regulations do not include any specific requirement for practices to consider the cost or type of calls being made to them,” says the consultation. “This has resulted in an unintended difference in treatment of people contacting a practice with an 084 number by mobile telephone in comparison to a caller on a landline. In terms of call tariffs, the call rates which patients are charged to call a 084 number will depend on their mobile phone service provider.”

Links:

Scottish Government announcement    

Consultation on GP Telephone Numbers    

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