David Hickson's Media Releases

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Monday, 17 August 2009

Misuse of revenue sharing telephone numbers by the government

From: DAVID HICKSON – campaigner against misuse of revenue sharing telephone numbers in the public sector.

A quick campaign status update covering three areas of concern.

Please contact me for further details and comment on any of the following, and other related issues: DEPARTMENT of HEALTH (NHS) “September” has been promised as the “date” for an announcement covering the outcome of the consultation on a proposed ban on use of 084 numbers in the NHS (which concluded in March). We will then be able to test the professed “love for the NHS” when we see what efforts are made to re-instate its most fundamental and beloved principle of being “free at the point of need”. I will be available to provide briefing and comment when the announcement is made. In the meantime there are issues that are likely not to have been resolved, as well as the major issue itself, which may warrant coverage whilst the “I love the NHS” story is running. (I offer myself as the twibbon-wearing “NHSPatient” user of Twitter.) DEPARTMENT for WORK and PENSIONS (various agencies) The new minister, Jim Knight, has been briefed on the ongoing failure of officials to deal with this matter. A new article in the primary organ of pressure for the government - 40p a minute to ring Job Seekers Direct – (which does not address the fact that benefit claimants also pay the same rates when calling DWP agencies) may help to press my former campaigning colleague into action. DEPARTMENT for TRANSPORT (DVLA) Two weeks after it ceased receiving any subsidy from calls to its 0870 number, the DVLA continues to subject many callers to premium charges. Whilst BT has now dropped all its rates for calling 0870 numbers, as revenue sharing no longer takes place, Virgin Media and the Mobile Operators continue to levy premium charges. This wholly unjustified surcharging by these telephone companies is an absolute disgrace. It was wrong for the DVLA to benefit from stealth charges; it is perhaps even worse that it continues to use 0870 numbers when only the profiteering telephone companies benefit.

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