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Why Calling Your Doctor Could Raise Your Blood Pressure...
Many people in the UK have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that they have to call their doctor using an 0844 phone number even though they may live literally yards from the doctor’s surgery.
The latest 0844 number statistics for the month of October 2010 are provided by telephone service provider Network Europe Group (NEG). They make pretty shocking reading.
• between 8 and 10 in the morning over 6 million people are unable to get through to their local surgeries when they call
• 93% of calls to a Doctor’s surgery get the busy or “engaged” signal tone
In defence of 0800 numbers , 0844 numbers and 0845 numbers it should be mentioned that they can be used more effectively than normal landline numbers by providing services that will ultimately benefit the patient such as call queuing, voicemail and call recording.
Call queuing is familiar to most of us as it literally speaks to us and tells us what position we are in the queue and at least lets us know that calls are being dealt with and we are one step close to speaking with a human being.
Voicemail options on 0844 numbers can be quite sophisticated whereby the recorded message is automatically sent by email to your doctor’s pc in a format such as a .wav file which can be played back.
Call recording is used by businesses and organisations alike for training purposes and to improve the overall quality of customer service.
Most phone systems are simply not sophisticated enough to deal with these features.
The main gripe surrounding the use of 0844 numbers by doctors surgeries is that the patient has to pay more for the call than if they had dialled a local telephone number. This seems a fair point. Most surgeries wouldn't care to admit it but they actually get a rebate of around 1p per minute on inbound calls. This means that your doctor is actually making money while you are on hold. That's not good for your blood pressure to know, is it?
An 0845 number would be a fairer choice as they cost a patient less to call than an 0844 number and the surgery doesn't pay to receive the call.
Obviously the public would love to have an 0800 number to call for their doctor as it costs nothing from a standard BT landline - the downside is that the doctor has to foot the bill for the cost of the call charges. Another issue is that there is a cost implication for mobile phone owners when they call an 0800 number such as those found at http://www.the0800numbercompany.co.uk/
OFCOM has introduced a new 03 prefix number which may be the answer to this thorny problem. 0333 numbers and 0330 numbers cost the same to call as a standard landline number even when calling from a mobile.
This would seem to be the perfect win-win solution for doctors and the public.
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We supply 0800 numbers to small, medium and large businesses in the UK.
If your not sure whether an 0800 number is the right choice we also offer 0844 numbers, 0845 numbers, 03 numbers and local virtual numbers for nearly 500 UK towns and cities.