Health commissioners in West Lancashire have worked with general practices to ensure patients can use a local phone number when contacting their surgery.
Following feedback from local residents, NHS West Lancashire CCG has encouraged GP practices to move away from using 0844 phone numbers in favour of using local numbers which ensure patients are charged at the local rate.
The move to local geographical numbers has involved moving onto a new secure NHS broadband connection.
Mike Maguire, NHS West Lancashire CCG’s chief officer, said: ““We’re constantly working in collaboration with our GP practices in West Lancashire to ensure that our patients get the experience they expect from their local NHS.
“It’s important that patients feel they can reach their general practice when they need to be and be charged at the local rate.”
A small minority of practices still have these 0844 numbers in place (due to delays with the migration to the new connection), however, patients dialling these will be automatically diverted to a local phone number, meaning no extra charges are incurred for the calls