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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP fights a losing battle over mumps

GPs are being forced to pay higher 0870 phone charges by the Scottish Ambulance Service ­ despite a ban on practices using the numbers in England and Wales.

Dr William McAlpine, a GP in Kilmarnock, said the situation was 'completely unacceptable'. He said: 'Every time your receptionist is on the phone trying to arrange an ambulance you're subsidising the ambulance service.

'Each call in itself may be no big deal but over the country over the year it is. We all understand the financial pressures they are under but GPs should not have to fund that.'

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said using the number was the only way to maintain single number access and have a failsafe in case of equipment breakdown.

The Scottish Executive also defended the ambulance service's use of the numbers. A spokeswoman said: 'Any minimal profit made from the charges for these calls is

reinvested.'

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