Thursday, 26 September 2019

Questions (137)

Brendan Griffin


137. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health in he will consider introducing a lo-call number for out-of-hours doctor services rather than the existing 1890 number due to the cost to those using the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39173/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand the Deputy's question as referring to the use by out-of-hour GP co-operatives of local landline numbers rather than potentially more expensive to use Lo-Call numbers such as 1890 numbers.

Lo-Call numbers were introduced before there was major competition in the telephone market in Ireland. Initially a call to a 1890 number would have cost the same as calling a local landline number. Now calls to 1890 numbers can vary widely – from 4c per minute to 34c per minute on some mobiles.

Although part funded by the HSE, out-of-hours co-operatives are private entities, and as such it is a matter for each co-operative to determine whether to use a local landline number or a Lo-Call number. The majority of out-of-hours co-operatives use a Lo-Call number and an alternative local landline number.