Saturday 6 May, 2006

Don’t give out your home telephone number

Posted in Advice, Michael Tam at 8:08 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Is it a patient?

For similar reasons of security as explained here, do not give out your home landline telephone number. There is no particular reason why anyone needs to know your home landline number and it is relatively trivial to convert a number back into a physical address.

If you do need to give out a telephone number, a mobile number is always preferable. In the worse case scenario, you can always just get a new mobile number. If you want to give your patients an avenue of contacting you, the practice telephone number or hospital ward telephone number should be sufficient. I once made the mistake of giving my mobile number to a patient’s mum (while I was at the Sydney Children’s Hospital) as she needed a way of contacting me on the weekend. This resulted in being called about 5 times over the weekend for trivial matters. Thankfully, apart from being somewhat anxious, she was otherwise settled so she never called me again.


  • Give your home landline telephone number to anyone except friends and family;
  • give your mobile telephone to patients;
  • tell patients that they can call you at “any time”, because they will;
  • give permission for the hospital switchboard or the ward to give out your telephone number to patients;
  • give out any other doctor’s telephone number.


  • Use the hospital ward telephone number or practice number as a contact number for patients;
  • use the hospital switch to connect “urgent” calls to your mobile;
  • collect patient telephone numbers so that if they need to contact you at a particular time out of work hours, then you can schedule to call them;
  • if you telephone patients, do so from a hospital or practice phone;
  • if you must call from your own telephone, then use the block caller ID code (see below).

Caller ID codes

  • Block caller ID sending: 1831 + telephone number
  • Unblock caller ID sending: 1832 + telephone number

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