A few weeks ago, there was a piece in one of the Islington rags about local GPs’s surgeries using 0870 telephone number to make a few pennies off their patients.

Since the beginning of this month, the Department of Health has banned local doctors from doing this. Unfortunatly, many will be replacing them with 0844 numbers that cost the same as BT’s standard rate, but are not covered by the inclusive minutes of some phone packages.

Pricy premium-rate and non-geographical numbers (those beginning with 0844, 0845, 0870 or 0871) are still used by lots of companies, including ones that people in Britain frequently have to call, such as public utilities.

But there’s one web site that is attempting to provide a solution. The site, saynoto0870.com, which is developing a database of the geographical equivalents of premium rate numbers.

One suggestion: GPs’ surgeries are covered by the Freedom of Information Act. Perhaps one way of extracting non-premium numbers of these or any other public bodies might just be to ask for them using the FOIA.

(Via PooterGeek Damien Counsell and Tim Worstall’s weekly Britblog roundup)