Phoneta History: Where it all began, with the Doctors Answering Service. - Phoneta Skip to content

Phoneta History: Where it all began, with the Doctors Answering Service.

Doctors answering service

Phoneta History: Where it all began, with the Doctors Answering Service.

In 1992 LaVerne Caddy left the ambulance service after 35 years, and reluctant to retire started a small business in his own kitchen, Wenvern Paging, answering late night and emergency doctors’ calls. These calls would be paged through to on a call emergency doctor, as at that time there was little or no service providing this cover and doctors would have to take all their late-night calls themselves. This left them with little work-life balance and meant calls asking to book appointments late at night had to be dealt with by the doctors themselves. Wenvern allowed these calls to be filtered and meant the doctors only had to be woken or disturbed with a genuine emergency. They had two telephones in their kitchen and were providing call handling for 90% of the Doctor’s surgeries in Cornwall and many others across the South West. With the launch of first Kernow doc and then the 111 service, the demand for Wenvern paging decreased and we saw we had to diversify and rebrand.


We became Kernow Business Messaging Service (KBMS) and saw a gap in the market for veterinarians. This became the focus for the next few years, and we took on many vets’ practices, providing the same out of hours emergency cover and helping vets increase their work-life balance, whilst still providing a dependable service for any animals in distress. We had many businesses start to contact us and over the years we have changed how we work to encompass any business that needs their phones answered, we started providing a 24/7 service, 365 days a year. With these changes, we have grown significantly and today employ over 70 people, in 2 office spaces. In 2017 we rebranded again to Phoneta, a telephone answering service for anyone who needs it, we take calls for businesses all over the country and in all types of industries, but we are finding that many of the doctors’ surgeries are now returning to us.


With the launch of 111 almost every surgery transferred their phones to 111 at 6:30 pm and takes them back at 08:00 am the following morning when the service ends. However, some surgeries opening times do not fit within the 111 operating hours and are left with a gap in their service, and this is where Phoneta is stepping in to help.  We offer a top and tail service, bridging the gap between 111 and the surgeries opening and closing time. We take the doctor’s calls between these times and make sure the patients get to speak to someone, letting them know the surgery isn’t open and they will need to call back, or in the case of an emergency, get this call through to the correct person. We are proud to say that many of the original surgeries we worked with 29 years ago are coming back to work with us now and we are helping bridge the gap left by the 111 service, as well as any periods of closure, such as lunchtimes, or staff training days, and particularly at this time if they need to close because of staff shortages or a COVID-19 risk.


It is amazing to hear the feedback from the doctors who return, happy with the way their calls were answered 29 years ago, and excited to come and work with us now, knowing we provide a dependable service they can rely on.


If you are in a practice that needs help, or you would like to find out more information about any of our call answering service, please give us a call on 01209 823456 and we will be happy to help.