Doctors are continuing to screw their patients with premium-rate telephone numbers, with those phoning for appointments being charged up to 41 pence per minute, and then being held in a queue that is highly profitable for the GPs.

This is despite a Department of Health ruling that patients should not pay more than the local rate for calls after April 1 this year.

Those wanting to call loved ones in hospitals are being charged 50 pence per minute to call to bedside phones, and have to listen to a long recorded message before being put through.

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