Bexley health board question GPs using high-rate 0844 phone lines

PUBLISHED: 09:58 16 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:59 16 August 2013

Borough GPs are being challenged over their promotion of chargeable 0844 numbers for patients booking appointments.

Bexley’s new Health and Wellbeing Board have written to five local practises asking them not to promote the costly numbers, which have led to people incurring unnecessary costs.

Lakeside Medical Practise, in Yarnton Way, Thamesmead, Cairngall Medical Practise, in Erith Road, Belvedere and Parkside Surgery, in Parkside Road, Bexleyheath, were all identified as a result of a recent audit by NHS England.

All three have received letters from the Health and Wellbeing Board, as well as Barnehurst Surgery, in Barnehurst Road, Bexleyheath, and Plas Meddyg Surgery, in Parkhill Road, Bexley.

NHS England are currently reviewing the audit information, ensuring the cost of using 0844 numbers is no more than calling a local number.

Chairman of the board, Cllr Teresa O’Neill, said: “I hope the local practices will stop promoting these numbers now - without the need for NHS England to take action against them.

“Many people operate on tight budgets and the board are very unhappy that they could find themselves paying unnecessarily for a basic service that should be free.”

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