GMS contract revision bans use of premium rate numbers

GPs using telephone numbers that cost more to call than a geographical number must change their arrangements, after the DoH revised the GMS contract.

The changes to the GMS contract, which came into effect on 1 April, makes clear that GP practices will no longer be able to use premium rate numbers.

Campaigner David Hickson said this would mean that the GPs who use 0844 numbers provided by Talk Talk will have to arrange migration to an alternative number, such as an 0344 number.

He said: ‘This is probably a better option for them than incurring the charges that would be levied if the contract for the telephone system that relies on this service were to be terminated early.'

A spokeswoman for the DoH said: ‘As announced in September 2009 the use of phone numbers that charge the public or patients a premium rate to contact the NHS were to be banned.

‘The department worked with the BMA's GP Committee to integrate the legislative changes into the GP contracts. This came into force on 1 April and the NHS will be reminded of this shortly.'

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