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Friday, 29 January 2010

More people to incur surcharges for calling GP 0844 telephone numbers

From: David Hickson – campaigner for the NHS

BT’s moves to get all of its residential customers onto its Unlimited Anytime Call Plan continue.

The Guardian reports details that have been confirmed by BT and I comment - see this link.

BT continuing to increasing the unregulated charge for non-inclusive daytime calls at the rate of 30% per annum creates two effects.

Firstly, more customers move over to the Anytime package, thereby incurring a surcharge of 100% when calling the revenue sharing 0844 numbers used to fund telephone systems used by many NHS GPs.

Secondly, the further increased penalty charge for making an ordinary call outside the time when a call plan is in effect makes the cost overtake the uniquely regulated charge that BT has to make for calls to the 0844 numbers.

Although every other telephone operator imposes a visible surcharge over the cost of an ordinary call (100% for all those with inclusive packages in effect), NEG and other purveyors of these rip off numbers are able to use this particular example from BT as if it were typical. This is done to deliberately mislead the Department of Health and the BMA, as well as many GPs and their patients.

If these efforts, supported by the BMA GPC, are not checked, the recently announced ban on use of expensive telephone numbers in the NHS will not happen.

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