Support campaign for cheap calls
Rutherglen MSP James Kelly is urging residents throughout Rutherglen and Cambuslang to make their views known on a consultation on GP telephone numbers.
The Scottish Government in Edinburgh is currently reviewing their policy on telephone charges incurred by people trying to contact their GP.
It has brought forward five proposals for consideration, ranging from setting up a call handling system or banning GP practices having numbers beginning 084, which according to the consultation, “can be very expensive if called from a mobile”.
Labour representative Mr Kelly is urging local people to participate in the consultation and add support to the campaign for a cheap and accessible service for those in need of help from their doctor.
James Kelly MSP said: “The last Scottish Labour government banned premium rate telephone numbers and I want to make sure people are not hit with expensive phone bills for simply trying to contact their GP, which is why I want to make sure local voices are heard loud and clear.
“It is crucial to ensure contacting your own GP for help or advice is as cheap and convenient as possible.
“In certain cases people contacting their GP’s using mobile phones can face significant bills depending on their service provider.
“We’ve seen what can be achieved when a community makes its voice heard, we saw that with the out of hours campaign and I urge local residents to take part in the consultation and let the Scottish Government know we want the best service for our communities.”
Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said: “This Government’s policy has always been to ensure that patients are not financially disadvantaged when contacting their GP practice.
“NHS bodies were allowed to continue using 084 numbers as these were classed as local calls by the regulator and would be as cheap when calling from a landline telephone as a geographical number.
“In February 2011 Scottish Ministers issued guidance to the profession and in July 2013 restated guidance designed to curtail the use of 084 numbers as calls from mobile operators were being charged at rates akin to that of the aforementioned ‘premium-rate’ numbers.
“The principal purpose of this consultation is to ensure that the regulatory framework regarding the use of telephone numbers by GP practices remains fit for purpose.”
The consultation can be accessed on the Scottish Government website and will run to 11 June 2015.
Views James Kelly MSP is urging constituents to make their views known on a consultation on GP telephone numbers