Personal Views

Wrong number

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 08 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:759
  1. Trisha Greenhalgh, general practitioner
  1. London

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    A few years ago British Telecom altered the dialling code for London, from the simple and unforgettable 01 to the challengingly obscure 0171 for inner London (where most people work) and 0181 for outer London (where most people live). A week later a leading London teaching hospital changed its telephone number, with the result that it is now identical to my own except for the 0171 prefix.

    This fortuitous sequence of events continues to provide me with real time evidence of why people telephone their local hospital. First and foremost seems to be lost relatives. The number …

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