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Background Info

What action do you wish taken and why?
I would like to see calls to NHS 24 from mobiles made free. There are many vulnerable groups such as single parents, pensioners, people with disabilities etc who are living on a low income who tend to use mobiles as they are cheaper than landlines. Other people who are living in remote and rural areas will also have a greater need for this service and may have limited access to phone boxes. These groups of people have more health issues and have a greater need for services such as the NHS 24. With the current recession, these groups of people are increasing at a concerning rate.

Despite the call back service that NHS 24 provides there is still a need to have money in the first instance in order to make the call. For people living on a low income this can often lead to problems and also to the calling of 999 emergency services that take up accident and emergency places.

Certain services (such as for the recent swine flu pandemic) have been made free for callers from mobile phones therefore would the same initiative not be possible for regular illnesses and needs.

People in Scotland have a right to access to medical help when needed and this shouldn’t depend on their income.
“The NHS was started because of an ideal that good health care should be available to all, regardless of wealth”. (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/NHS60/Pages/HistoryoftheNHS.aspx)

I hope that this can be continued in the modern age and I believe that making this service free to callers would be staying in line with the founding principles of the NHS.


What questions would you like the Public Petitions Committee to ask and of whom?
To ask why the cost is split between the NHS and the caller for a landline phone but not for a mobile phone.
Even if the cost is split between the caller and the NHS, people living on a low income would still not be able to access this service if they had no credit in their phone, therefore I would like to ask the Scottish Government if it could intervene with mobile phone companies to try to come to some agreement on how it would be possible to make the NHS 24 service available free of charge for mobile phone users, many of whom live on a low income and who have a greater need for such services.