Complaint against Patientline about alleged misuse of Personal Numbers

25 February 2005

Complainant: The complainant wishes to remain anonymous
Complaint against: Patientline Ltd
Case opened: 19 February 2004
Case closed: 14 May 2004
Issue: Possible misuse of 070 Personal Numbers
Relevant instrument: Condition 17 of the General Conditions of Entitlement ("the General Conditions") which governs the allocation, adoption, and use of telephone numbers

In the light of Ofcom's revised guidance on the use of the 070 number range, which it published on 24 January 2004, Ofcom opened an investigation to consider whether Patientline's use of 070 numbers is in breach of Condition 17 of the General Conditions of Entitlement.

The revised guidance states at paragraph 14 that:

"The End-User cannot be in charge of their number if that number can also be used to contact, e.g. through a switchboard, another End-User."

Ofcom has received details from Patientline of their proposed investment in a revised system, which will allow callers to directly contact a patient using an 11-digit 070 number. This revised system will remove the need for callers to dial an additional four digit PIN when wishing to contact the patient. This new system resolves Ofcom's concerns that Patientline was not complying with its obligations under the Numbering Plan and the General Conditions or with Ofcom's revised guidance. Ofcom has requested that Patientline provide periodic updates regarding the company's progress towards implementing the revised system. Ofcom has therefore decided to close its investigation but Ofcom will monitor Patientline's progress in implementing these changes.

Case Leader: Steve Burniston (e-mail: Steve.Burniston@ofcom.org.uk
Case Reference: CW/00654/07/03

Text published when the case was opened

Complaint against Patientline about alleged misuse of Personal Numbers

Complainant: The complainant has not given Ofcom permission to publish their identity
Complaint against: Patientline UK Ltd
Case opened: 19 February 2004
Issue: Possible misuse of 070 Personal Numbers
Relevant instrument: Condition 17 of the General Conditions of Entitlement, which governs the allocation, adoption, and use of telephone numbers.

Patientline offers a personal numbering service which allows callers to contact hospital patients using a 070 phone number. However, Ofcom is concerned that callers are being required to dial an additional four-digit number which appears to indicate that the end-user (the patient) is not in control of an individual telephone number allocated for personal numbering services by Ofcom.
In the light of Ofcom's revised guidance on the use of the 070 number range, which it published on 24 January 2004 , Ofcom has therefore opened an investigation to consider whether Patientline's use of 070 numbers is in breach of Condition 17 of the General Conditions of Entitlement.

Ofcom is investigating this matter under the Communications Act 2003.

Case Leader: Steve Burniston (e-mail: Steve.Burniston@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00654/07/03