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The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services and Primary Dental Services) (Wales) (Amendment and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2016

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Amendment of Schedule 3 to the PDS Regulations

15.  In Schedule 3 to the GDS Regulations (other contractual terms), after paragraph 14 (telephone services), insert—

14A.    – Cost of relevant calls

(1) The contractor must not enter into, renew or extend a contract or other arrangement for telephone services unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

(2) Where a contractor is party to an existing contract or other arrangement for telephone services under which persons making relevant calls to the practice call a number which is not a geographical number, the contractor must comply with sub-paragraph (3).

(3) The contractor must—

(a)before 1 March 2017, review the arrangement and consider whether, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number; and

(b)if the contractor so considers, take all reasonable steps, including in particular considering the matters specified in sub-paragraph (4), to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number.

(4) The matters referred to in sub-paragraph (3)(b) are—

(a)varying the terms of the contract or arrangement;

(b)renegotiating the terms of the contract or arrangement; and

(c)terminating the contract or arrangement.

(5) If, despite taking all reasonable steps referred to in sub-paragraph (3)(b), it has not been possible to ensure that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, persons will not pay more to make relevant calls to the practice than they would to make equivalent calls to a geographical number, the contractor must consider introducing a system under which if a caller asks to be called back, the contractor will do so at the contractor’s expense.

(6) In this paragraph—

(a)“existing contract or other arrangement” means a contract or arrangement that was entered into prior to 1 March 2016 and which remains in force on 1 March 2016;

(b)“geographical number” means a number which has a geographical area code as its prefix; and

(c)“relevant calls” means calls—

(i)made by patients to the practice for any reason related to services provided under the contract, and

(ii)made by persons, other than patients, to the practice in relation to services provided as part of the health service..

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