‘Calling 0844 is vastly more expensive’

Pontefract General Infirmary / Pontefract Hospital
Pontefract General Infirmary / Pontefract Hospital
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The NHS trust which runs Pontefract Hospital made more than £100,000 last year from controversial 0844 telephone numbers.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NSG Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, received a 4p payment from each call made to four 0844 numbers.

Mid Yorkshire made £102,000 in revenue in 2012-13, £66,000 in 2011-12 and £60,000 in 2010-11 from the numbers.

NHS campaigners say the “expensive” numbers should not be allowed because the NHS is taxpayer-funded and not allowed to charge for patient care.

David Hickson, of campaign group Fair Telecoms, said: “The simple fact of the matter is that calling 0844 is in almost every case vastly more expensive. The Department of Health issued directions, not guidance, to NHS bodies back in December 2009 giving them 12 months to get off expensive telephone numbers.

“Mid Yorkshire is one of a relatively small number which didn’t.”