Intended for healthcare professionals


GPs and patients clash over use of premium rate phone lines

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 13 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:534
  1. Adrian O'Dowd
  1. Margate

    GPs in the United Kingdom are being urged to consider dropping the use of 0844 phone numbers for their practices, which campaigners say force patients to pay a premium rate for the calls.

    Doctors' leaders, however, have hit back at the accusations, saying that GPs are not making a profit from the lines and that they have improved patients' access.

    Concerns are growing about the extra costs to patients who contact practices that have switched their surgery phone numbers from local geographical codes to the 0844 code. These codes are more expensive, say patients' groups and the “Say No to 0870” website (, which campaigns against the use of …

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