A new phone number is coming into use this week for people who want to contact a health trust.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is changing its main switchboard number from a 0844 number to 0344 8118111 from Friday.
All callers to the new number will be charged a local rate – no more than a call to a geographical number, regardless of if they are using a landline or mobile – and the number will also be included in the available minutes within ‘free minute’ calls packages.
The changes are the result of planning by the trust after feedback about the 0844 prefix which has been in place since 2007 and which contract has now expired.
Ann Wright, executive director at the trust, said: “We are delighted that this change is now taking place to make it even easier for people to get in touch with us.
“We serve a big population and having nine busy hospital sites, means we need a central number for people to call.
“The board has been very keen for some time to see this change as we know there have been many concerns about the perceived high cost of 0844 calls although we had negotiated a very good 4p per minute rate on our previous contract.”
From Friday, the trust’s contact centre number will also change to 0344 811 8118.
Families and visitors can still use the direct dial local numbers for most of the trust’s wards and departments, available at www.northumbria.nhs.uk