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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Local campaigners publish geographic numbers for 0844 surgery

After failing to get the local PCT - West Berkshire (clustered with East Berkshire under Chief Executive Charles Waddicor) to do its job by enforcing the terms of the NHS GP contract, the Neighbourhood Action Group for the district of Earley, near Reading, has adopted a tactic that could be used by similar groups elsewhere.

After securing coverage of the issue in local newspapers, members of the group are now distributing the poster shown below around local shops, community centres and other places where patients of the particular large practice that serves this whole area may see it.

Action like this is not "the solution" to the problem of GPs using expensive telephone numbers, however it is a worthwhile exercise. Those patients who get to hear of the alternative numbers, and recognise that they are cheaper for them to call, may be saved considerable sums of improper expenditure. The consequent loss of subsidy to the practice, because the number of calls to the 0844 number is reduced, may perhaps cause it to wonder whether it makes sense to continue in breach of its contract with the risk of suffering action, for the sake of a relatively small financial benefit.

For myself, I would rather that the practice and the PCT respected the principles of the NHS, on all matters, and behaved accordingly.

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