To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many GP surgeries use 0844 numbers; and what steps he plans to take to reduce the use of such numbers in the next five years.
6 July 2015
Regulations introduced in 2010 prevented general practitioner (GP) practices from entering into, renewing or extending a contract for telephone services unless it was satisfied that, looking at the arrangements as a whole, patients would not pay more to make calls to the practice than they would to make calls to a geographical number.
The number of practices using premium rate numbers is reducing as contracts come to an end. As at September 2014, over 7,500 (97%) of all GP practices in England were using only local numbers and a large number of practices using 084 numbers also have a local alternative. NHS England continues to work with practices that have premium rate numbers and will review progress periodically.