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0844 numbers

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Steve Maskery

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Hi all,
My quacks are changing their surgery number to an 0844 number. Am I right in thinking that:
a) the only reason for doing this is that they make money out ot it, and
b) there is still a real landline number underneath it all?

I asked the receptionist for the exchange number, but she swore blind the only number they had was 0844. I'm not suggesting she was deliberately lying, but I do think she is mistaken. I assume, like 0870 numbers, it is just a translation from one number to another.

It would not be so much of an issue if you could use your mobile allowance on such numbers, but you can't.

There is a www.saynoto0870.co.uk site, but I can't find anything equivalent for 0844.

Any experts out there?
Cheers
Steve
 

Noel

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Yes Steve, totally agree with you. 08 numbers (apart from the 0800 number) are revenue generating. The deal I have with BT on my landlines is freecalls to UK and Ireland, but only if using the regular numbers, obviously I get charged for using the 08 numbers. If I have any literature or net info from the company that I want to ring I can usually find the number to call by looking in the "from outside the UK" (ie +44 number) and this usually has the "real" number in it.
I'm pretty sure that your surgery has a "real" number somewhere, just got to find it. Try BT.com dir enq, the real number might be listed there. Or one digit more or one less then their fax number.

Noel
 

Taffy Turner

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If the Doctor's Surgeries are going to start changing to 08 numbers to make some cash on the side, it makes you wonder what will be next - selling subscriptions to live video feeds from the exam rooms???? :shock:

Seriously though - in my opinion what they are doing there is way out of order - is there someone you could complain to?

I was of the mistaken belief that Doctors were there to provide a service, not generate a profit? Niave of me I know....

An appalled Taffy
 

Steve Maskery

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Noel,
Ask for the number to ring from outside the UK - that's a good idea, I'll do that.

Taffy,
Well, in fairness to quack GPs generally, (and my nice comfortable middle-class existence is due almost entirely to one such), GPs do have to make a profit. They are not a non-profit-making organisation, they are not employed by the NHS. They are private businesses contracted to the local PCT (or whatever health structure is flavour of the political term) to provide general or personal medical services to the general public, on behalf or the PCT, which has the legal responsibility to provide such services. Thus the Practice has to make a profit in order for it to pay its staff, its Partners, any other shareholders (though there ususally are none) ,the City Council for the privilege of parking whilst visiting patients at home, to invest in new technology, new buildings etc, etc, etc.

I just don't think that saying "We are changing our phone number to improve our service to you" is either honest, transparent or appropriate.

Thanks for the replies,
Steve
 

tim

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Steve

Unless I'm much mistaken they HAVE to give you the local number if you ask for it and it should be included in their literature somewhere.

Cheers

Tim
 

Gill

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There are details of how to complain about NHS services here.

Gill
 

Les Mahon

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"0844/0845 numbers (local rate numbers) enable people to call you from anywhere in the UK for the price of a local "

If I understand telecoms correctly your doctor pays a premium to have these numbers - not the other way around!

I might be off the mark here, but as I understand it Lo-Call numbers are usually for companies trying to encourage you to phone them, not for companies trying to make a profit from you calling them

Les
 

tim

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Les

That may be the case but the hoo hah is that in many instances dialling the standard number would be cheaper eg if you are in the local area. Given that we are talking about a GP surgery, it is unlikely that any more than a handful of patient calls will be outside the local area consequently it seems to be a relatively underhand way of increasing revenue.

Cheers

Tim
 

andrewm

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Les Mahon":1n95ryvs said:
"0844/0845 numbers (local rate numbers) enable people to call you from anywhere in the UK for the price of a local "

If I understand telecoms correctly your doctor pays a premium to have these numbers - not the other way around!

I might be off the mark here, but as I understand it Lo-Call numbers are usually for companies trying to encourage you to phone them, not for companies trying to make a profit from you calling them

Les
Certainly with 0845 numbers the operator receives a (small) fee from their use. This is how all the pay as you go ISPs like Freeserve make their money.

Andrew
 

Steve Maskery

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Les Mahon":z1wdwqaj said:
If I understand telecoms correctly your doctor pays a premium to have these numbers - not the other way around!
Les,
You may be right (although there are companies offering premium numbers for free, cos they get a cut too), but even if that is the case you have to ask yourself "why?"

As far as I can see, the only reason is that it makes more money than it costs.

I'll ask Judith about it when she gets home (although she is hopeless about anything remotely business-orientated) as their surgery operates a similar system. I did give her the third degree about it when she told me - the decision was made when we were away on hols. At least, that's her story...

Cheers
Steve
[wonders] If I'm the one in the household with the business experience, how come she's the one making the money? [/wonders]
 

Sailor

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Hi, We use an 0844 number, the'44' series are different than the '45' series insofar as they are 5 p per minute from anywhere in the UK - called a 'non-geographic number'. The '45's are usually at a premium rate.

The vast majority of our calls were locally dialed, but being a country area, we were in the middle of about 5 prefix areas so some people 'across the border' in the adjacent dialling areas weren't classed as 'local' so we took the decision to change to the 0844. It costs us some money, but not a great deal and we don't share in the profits that may be made from using it.
 

Freetochat

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As far as I see it, whether it is the GP or BT, in todays market you are paying more than you need. Many telephone packages include free calls or bundled calls, I have such a system. I pay one set fee and all calls except for premium numbers or 08 numbers are included within the fee. Hence the drive to secure the alternative numbers.

BT drive these sales to all call centre type organisations, because they are money making.
 

andrewm

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Sailor":dug0e66b said:
Hi, We use an 0844 number, the'44' series are different than the '45' series insofar as they are 5 p per minute from anywhere in the UK - called a 'non-geographic number'. The '45's are usually at a premium rate.
According to the BT Website 0854 numbers are local rate, charged at 3p/minute daytime and 1p/minute evenings/weekends.

Andrew
 

Terry Smart

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Several years ago BT tried to sell us a freephone 0800 number which we didn't take them up on.
Bear in mind this was some time ago... during the conversation the salesman said how convenient this would be as if we changed our phone number during a move we could transfer the number without having the cost of reprinting stationery etc; my reply was to say how much money that might have saved when our number changed from '01' to '081' then to '0181' and finally to '020' before they finally got it right.
The conversation didn't last much longer after that.
 

ike

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If I was sick, the last thing I'd worry about would be calling my doctor on an 08xx number. Now if it was an 09xx number, I'm sure that could make you sick - financially speaking :shock: :)

Ike
 
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