PMS revamp aims to give contract a kick start
Practices could be banned from using 084 local-call rate telephone numbers as well as the national 0870 prefix.
The Department of Health has asked PCTs to review whether practices can use any non-geographic numbers.
The ban would come despite the Government having given practices with 0870 numbers £500 to switch to an 084 alternative. The move aims to stop NHS bodies making money from patients calling the numbers.
Calling an 0844 or 0845 number is a fraction of a penny more expensive than a local call and allows revenue sharing with the phone company.
Telephone regulator Ofcom is set to rule on the issue in the summer.