Barking MP urges health secretary to put a stop to premium GP phone numbers

Barking MP Margaret Hodge has written to the health secretary asking him to crack down on GPs who continue to use premium numbers at their surgeries.

As reported in the Post, around nine medical practices serving Barking and Dagenham use 0844 numbers, which can charge patients up to 41p a minute from a mobile phone.

Although some of the surgeries offer either an alternative local number or a call-back service, patients are often unaware of these options and continue to pay more.

In her letter to health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Mrs Hodge spoke of two residents who incurred bills of up to �30 after trying to book an appointment to see their GPs.

She said: “I would ask you to urgently look at this issue. I am sure I am not alone in experiencing this unacceptable practice.

“I would also ask you to take urgent action to ensure GPs stop using 084 numbers for their patients.”