“A constituent registered with the Gardden Road surgery raised this matter with us after being kept waiting when he called to make an appointment.
“He was 17th in the queue and it became clear people would face a hefty bill if they had to wait so long to get through. As someone who had used the surgery all his life, he found that unacceptable and contacted my office.“We’ve carried out this research and believe charging premium rates to access doctors goes against the NHS regulations that make it clear surgeries should charge no more than the local rate.”
“Such charges are in contrast to the policy of previous Welsh Governments in relation to charging. This has led to the phasing out of car parking charges in hospitals and, of course, the free prescription policy.
“Plaid Cymru believes that such charges go against the spirit of the NHS. Regulations state that patients should not pay more to make calls to a GP practice than other calls in the area.”
“The practice introduced the system to improve patient access and experience, as patients trying to book an appointment using the previous system often faced the engaged tone.
“We believe that introducing the enhanced system has improved patient access, and enabled our staff to focus on what matters most, assisting patients.
“The surgery has installed an alternative local rate number to provide further choice for our patients.”