Surgery gets rid of that 0844 number

Dr Mark Rastall, who is one of the Partners of the Beechwood Medical Centre
Dr Mark Rastall, who is one of the Partners of the Beechwood Medical Centre

Beechwood Medical Centre has now reverted to a landline number after patients voiced dissatisfaction at being charged extra from mobile phones when booking appointments.

Dr Mark Rastall, a partner at the Halifax surgery, said: “After several complaints we agreed that having an 0844 number was ethically challenging as the last thing we wanted was patients being unable to book an appointment because they could not afford the cost of a mobile call.

“We have – at some cost to ourselves – removed the 0844 number and replaced it with a landlne number so all customers will pay the same local rate when booking appointments.

“We are delighted to have delivered our customers what they asked for and continue to work with them in other areas such as extended access arrangements and other services they are requesting through our patient reference group.”

The new landline number is 01422 305970 . Calls to the old number will be diverted.

An NHS Calderdale spokeswoman said there were seven practices across Calderdale that had 0844 numbers but two also had a landline number.

All seven have confirmed their tariffs are in line with BT rates – the same price when calling from a landline.

When calling from mobile phones, charges depend on the mobile phone provider.

She said: “Practices that have 0844 numbers feel it enables them to deal effectively with call volume and helps direct patients to where they need to be. If they had a local number the patient would encounter the engaged tone more often.

“All practices have agreed to a review once contracts are due for renewal, and practices are willing to discuss any issues patients may have with their telephone services.”