Ombudsman lashes out at complaint handling in NHS
National NHS bodies are to escape the ban on using national rate 0870 telephone numbers.
A Department of Health spokesman confirmed the ban, which has affected around 300 practices, will only apply to 'local health providers'.
The decision means the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service does not have to change its 0870 number.
Ministers enforced the ban on practices because they believed it was unfair patients should have to pay more to access NHS services.
Dr Peter Fellows, whose Gloucestershire practice uses an 0870 number, criticised the decision.
He said: 'Government departments should be judged by the same criteria and should be forced to switch over as well.'