"0845 Numbers"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I need to book appointment via DART (Devon Access and Referral Team) but they only give an 0845 number. I work away from home so the only phone i have access to is a mobile. So calling the number will cost me 35p a minute - a landline would be free for me.

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Responses

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon

Dear ‘ashby’,

Thank you for contacting us regarding this problem, I hope that my reply is in time to let you use our ‘01’ number.

We have 5 teams booking for different specialities and each team has an 0845 number (which will only be charged at local rate no matter where you phone from in England) and an 01626 number for patients with phone contracts such as yours that allow free calls to land lines. I don’t know which speciality you are trying to book for so can I recommend that you call the patient helpdesk on 01626 883888 and they will put you through to the right team.

I hope this solves the problem.

Kind regards,

Susan

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Update posted by ashby (the patient)

This is great.

My point applies to all 0845 numbers as many people now only have access to a mobile during work time.

I now have to check my appointment which is with West Berkshire Hospital in Thatcham. Sadly the appointment check line is an 0845 number which i am not prepared to ring. So i may end up missing my appointment as i have no access to a land line.

I wish i knew why 0845 numbers are used, as many people have inclusive plans on both landline and mobile which exclude these numbers.

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon

Dear ‘Ashby’

Regarding DART’s use of 0845 numbers, this was decided upon as it guarantees that no-one has to pay more than a local rate charge, no matter what phone line they call from. However, as I mentioned in my earlier post, we realise that, depending on what phone package you are using, some patients will have to pay a charge rather than make use of their free calls and so we also offer an 01626 number as an alternative and patients can choose whichever suits them best (your GP surgery should have given you both numbers).

For example, someone using a landline but calling from outside of Devon would be charged above local rate to call our 01626 number but charged at local rate when calling the 0845 number. I would imagine that this is why West Berkshire Hospital use one as well although you would obviously have to contact them directly to make sure.

If you are unwilling to call the 0845 number you were given in order to confirm the date and time of your appointment, you can call the 01626 number that I gave you before or you can phone or call into your GP surgery who also have access to this information. You also should have been sent a letter of confirmation from the hospital that you have an appointment with.

Kind regards,

Susan

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Update posted by ashby (the patient)

Hi Susan

I am delighted with the DART approach and fully understand that this is what you have done.

My follow up point is simply that I wish your good practice was followed elsewhere in the country as for example the West Berkshire Community Hospital in Thatcham does not provide an alternative to 0845 for appointments. I wish they would follow the good practice of Devon.

My local NHS dentist in Newton Abbot, Den Dental, only provides an 0870 number for appointments. But that is another story.