HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 c1079W
Dr. Fox

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of privately provided patient telephone systems charge premium rates for incoming calls; and what guidance has been given on the provision of these services to trusts. [27229]

Ms Blears

Of the 59 schemes currently installed and operating in the national health service, 56 are with the two firms that charge full premium rate.

The model concession agreement includes an agreed pricing structure covering all the services provided. All the licensees have declared their policy structure over the period of the contract and the patient power steering group, led by NHS Estates, has agreed the proposals. These represent the maximum the licensee can charge. There are provisions within the agreement for local negotiation.

We are working with suppliers to continually improve the service, including incoming call charges.