The saga of a local medical group’s controversial use of an 08444 telephone number has finally ended, after it changed to local numbers last month.

The Argyle Medical Group’s use of the 08444 number had caused long-standing controversy locally, coupled with an unpopular appointment system, which saw patients charged a great deal more than they would have with a local telephone number. The group has surgeries in Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Neyland.

The Western Telegraph has previously reported how both Pembroke and Pembroke Dock town councils received complaints regarding the availability of same-day appointments and the 08444 number at the group’s surgeries.

Local MP Stephen Crabb welcomed the news that the number would be scrapped.

He said: “This news will be welcomed by many users of the surgery who have been very frustrated at having to use this expensive 08444 number.”

“In one recent letter I received from a patient, they told that it was common to have to spend over 15 minutes on hold, costing between £2-£2.50 just to make an appointment.”

“I am very pleased that Argyle has listened to the representations we have made and will change the number from October.

“It shows that the group have really listened to patients and to feedback from Neyland, Pembroke Dock and Pembroke town councils, who have also expressed their concerns about this number.”

The Argyle Medical Group and Hywel Dda Health Board were both asked for a response, however neither was able to provide one.