Surgery to keep high-cost phone lines

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PATIENTS at a Spalding medical centre that was named in a national investigation into the use of “expensive 0844” telephone numbers may have to wait more than two years for any change.

There was outrage when Which? magazine included Munro Medical Centre as one of only eight surgeries in the UK still using 0844 numbers and “making money out of people’s calls for help”.

Concerns were again addressed in the West Elloe Avenue centre’s recently published 2012 Patients’ Survey Results.

The document states: “It is not true we seek to profit from the use of an 0844 – under the terms of the contract we are not permitted to do so.

“Longer term we would like to move away from using an 0844 number and if possible return to using a local 01775.

“However, telecom’s contracts are long-term deals and at present ours isn’t due to end for a further two-and-a-half-years.”

A spokesman for NHS Lincolnshire said: “Patients contacting Munro Medical Centre on the 0844 number are not being charged any more than the geographical rate. However, the practice is looking to move away from the existing 0844 number and is currently looking at all options available to them in the short, medium, and long term. The practice continues to do its very best for the patients, meeting their needs wherever possible.”