The cost of calling your GP will fall dramatically in Belper as Whitemoor Medical Centre changes its 08445 telephone number to a 01773 prefix.
The existing telephone system was designed to make it easier for patients to get through to the surgery at busy periods and offer other benefits such as automated appointment booking.
However, an unintended consequence was that calls to the surgery attracted a higher charge than the standard rate.
Dr Heather Kinsella, Senior Partner at Whitemoor Medical Centre, said, “Patients have been telling us that they would like it to be less expensive to telephone their GP. Therefore I am delighted that we have managed to negotiate an early exit from our existing telecoms contract, albeit at some financial cost to the practice. It means we can give our patients a lower telephone bill when they ring in.”
The Whitemoor Patient Participation Group was formed in 2011 to help represent the surgery’s 12,500 patients and Chairman Peter Hurst agreed with Dr Kinsella’s comments. “The Patient Participation Group meets regularly with the GPs and managers at the practice and the cost of telephoning the surgery has always been near the top of the agenda. We are really pleased that they have listened and reinstated a 01773 number with all calls being charged at local rate. This will be particularly beneficial to people who use a mobile phone,” he said.
The changeover is planned to take place on April 30.