Ill feeling over phone call cost

A medical practice has been urged to drop its high-cost phone line after it was branded unfair by patients.

Rothwell and Desborough Healthcare Group introduced an 0844 number for the newly-opened Rothwell Medical Centre, in Desborough Road, this year.

The number costs up to 13p to call from landlines compared to up to 9p for a standard geographic number. From a mobile phone it can cost up to 41p to call the number. Calling a geographic number is usually included in mobile contract packages.

At a meeting of Rothwell Town Council, members responded to residents’ complaints over the number by also calling on the medical group to drop it.

After the meeting chairman Karl Sumpter said: “People are complaining about the 0844 number.

“When you call the practice you are welcomed by a voicemail and then given a list of four of five options. By the time you get through to someone it can be five minutes. It’s not fair on people with tight financial budgets.”

Asked why he thought the medical group had taken on the number, he said: “I haven’t a clue.”

The town council has written to the medical group and NHS to ask for the number to be changed.

The Evening Telegraph attempted to contact the medical group’s acting practice manager, but received no response by the time the paper went to press.

David Kelland, 64, Burditt Close, said: “I’m not impressed at all. Sometimes you are put on hold or kept on the phone for some time.”