084 numbers have hit the headlines again with NHS England ordering GP surgeries to stop using them altogether.
Where practices are tied into ongoing contracts, NHS England has asked them to switch to a cheaper geographic number.
It was not too long ago that it seemed most GP surgeries had 084 numbers, but their existence has slowly dwindled with the revelation of the high cost of calls being charged to the patient.
084 numbers did have a valid purpose at one time as they offered GP surgeries the option to queue their calls. However, this came at a price for patients with incoming call charges ranging from 1p to 5p per minute to create a revenue stream for the practice.
Not that expensive? Well, it depends on how long you are kept on hold to speak to a receptionist and these charges are even more costly when patients use a mobile as 084 numbers fall outside the remit of the majority of inclusive call bundles or payment plans which tend to offer unlimited free calls to 01 or 02 numbers.
We have helped many GP surgeries migrate from their 084 numbers by making use of automated attendant, call queuing and call recording, within a tailored telephone system to relieve the stress and strain put on receptionists at peak calling times while ensuring their patients know they will not be met with an engaged tone or inflated call charges.