GPs using 084 numbers – an update

Archive for February, 2013

GPs using 084 numbers – an update

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Regular readers will be well aware of my campaign to stop GP practices using 084 telephone numbers.

Two local residents had contacted me to say they had received enormous bills after trying to book an appointment with their GPs. One ended up footing a bill for nearly £10 and the other for £30!

Calls to 084 numbers can cost a fortune – as much as 41p per minute when you use a mobile telephone. Often 084 numbers have a greeting message which tells people they are “first in the queue” when in fact no one is picking up. Using on 084 number saves the GP money but costs the patient extra. It’s simply not acceptable for GP’s to pocket the money and not provide their patients with a cheap and easy way to contact their doctor.

Yet when I dug deeper I discovered that 9 GP practices were still using 084 numbers without offering an alternative landline number for patients..

The local health authority said they were stuck in long-term contracts with large telephone companies. But that’s their problem, not the patents problem and it’s not a good enough answer. Also the NHS nationally has told GPs they must not use 084 numbers.

So I’ve been taking action myself. I’ve contacted every GP practice. There are now only two which stubbornly refuse to offer an alternative landline number for patients to ring. Many added a new line soon after I contacted them, which is real progress, but my campaign goes on. And I intend to work to make sure GPs answer their phones so that you are not kept waiting.

It is completely unacceptable that there are GP surgeries who have failed to change. Booking an appointment to see your GP shouldn’t be like calling to arrange car insurance, and certainly shouldn’t cost you the earth. I will not let go of this issue until all out GPs provide this basic service.

If you have experienced problems getting an appointment with your GP please get in touch with my office on 2020 8594 1333 or at [email protected] or by writing to me at 102 North Street, Barking, Essex IG11 8LA.

Called the cheetah, this robot’s form and function takes its

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013

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Sunday, February 17th, 2013

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Harrow Road street meeting

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I recently held my latest Street Meeting in Harrow Road, Barking, in response to residents’ concerns about parking.

Residents in Harrow Road contacted me after becoming concerned that the Council had not carried out a consultation about a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in their area.

A CPZ was agreed for Harrow Road and Ripple Road last summer, but it was put on hold after the Council received a fresh set of objections. The Council gave an undertaking to consult again.

Following my meeting, the Council has agreed to write out to residents in the next 2-3 weeks to consult residents again on agreeing a Controlled Parking Zone for the area. They also agreed to consult residents on the length of time that the Controlled Parking Zone will last and, if agreed, implement it by the end of April.

I think we made real progress. The impression from the meeting was that there was a need for a Controlled Parking Zone to last until 9pm at night.  But it is up to residents to say if they want it.

You can request a street meeting in your area by clicking here.