Patient Line is a disgusting disgrace Blog Discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's "Patient Line is a disgusting disgrace... judge a nation on how it treats its sick" blog. Please read the blog first, as the discussion follows it.


Read Martin's "Patient Line is a disgusting disgrace... judge a nation on how it treats its sick" Blog
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Comments

  • divadee
    divadee Posts: 10,609 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    i think the prices are shocking!!!

    when mr divadee was in hospital a few years ago, it was cheaper to nuy one of the patientline phonecards and for him to call me as that was 10p a minute to call out to a landline.

    might be an option for others, but then i think the cheapest phonecard is £5 so might not be worth it if you are only going to be in hospital for a day or so!!!
  • WestonDave
    WestonDave Posts: 5,154 Forumite
    Rampant Recycler
    The blanket ban on mobiles needs investigating especially in light of Patientline charges.

    We were told when DS was born 18mths ago that it was fine to use a mobile in the delivery area, and on the wards. The only restriction we found was that when they moved to a cottage hospital they asked us to make and receive calls in the corridor to keep the noise down in the ward itself.

    Clearly there is some equipment which will be affected by mobiles (stick a turned on mobile next to a stereo speaker and you'll hear the effect it has on electromagnetic devices), and clearly someone yakking away on a mobile can be disruptive on a ward, but surely there must be some compromise on a general medical ward.
    Adventure before Dementia!
  • Fran
    Fran Posts: 11,281 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • Fran
    Fran Posts: 11,281 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hospital parking is another one.... :mad:

    One, Two, Three, Four threads on Vent board.

    Edit - Also 5/10/06 Parking charges at hospital discussion.
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • iwanttosave_2
    iwanttosave_2 Posts: 34,292 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Something really does need to be done about this, its not even like the money is put back into the hospitals, not that that makes it ok because thats why we pay our taxes.

    When I was having bubba there were a few things wrong so obviously concerned family members were phoning me every now and then to see how I was. Over the few days that I was there, their phone bill soon crept up, and at the time people don't think about it because they want to know their loved ones are ok.
    Work like you don't need money,
    Love like you've never been hurt,
    And dance like no one's watching
    Save the cheerleader, save the world!
  • spook
    spook Posts: 233 Forumite
    Patientline get a lot of bad press and I agree with a lot of it, but I'm not sure I'd describe them in such harsh terms.

    Firstly, I do agree that the incoming call charges are too high, and I'm pretty sure that these are under investigation by OFCOM. (I believe that they are going to be required to provide a direct external phone number for each bedside, to eliminate the extra 2 minutes of recorded messages).

    However as someone who spent several days in a hospital last year, I do feel like I should make a few points in Patientline's defence...
    • I've never seen any information from them that doesn't clearly show the incoming call charges, and don't forget that just a couple of years ago there was basically no way to contact relatives in hospital, other than phoning the ward - which is still an option anyway.
    • I think that the outgoing charges of 10p/minute are fairly reasonable, and (I believe) cheaper than calling from a payphone - correct me if I'm wrong.
    • They provide all patients with free radio services 24 hours a day, including hospital radio where this exists.
    • You also get free TV for an hour at breakfast time.
    Also, a word of advice - If possible, don't buy the vouchers, top up by debit card instead. You can then ring them when you get home and have any unused credit refunded to your card.
  • 5hreek
    5hreek Posts: 13 Forumite
    I agree that those incoming charges are a disgrace but also agree with spook - Patient Line (and other private companies) invested in the infrastructure to bring TV and telephone direct to the patient's bed. Previously it was a shared TV or payphone on the ward or a trip to the day room - the alternative was to have the NHS pay for it and I'd rather have the NHS spending money on medical stuff than this kind of thing. So Patient Line should be allowed to recoup the cost of that investment - and yes, make a profit (shock, horror!) . However, the amount of profit could be investigated.

    And here is the result of my investigation:

    http://www.patientlinesystems.com/images/uk/Report%20page%2055.pdf

    So, EBIT is always positive but Patient Line has had and operating loss for the last 5 years - someone more financially astute than me can comment here but it's either a rubbish business or creative accounting.
  • iwanttosave_2
    iwanttosave_2 Posts: 34,292 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Prisoners get their own telly for £1 a week, why should someone ill pay more than that a day?
    Work like you don't need money,
    Love like you've never been hurt,
    And dance like no one's watching
    Save the cheerleader, save the world!
  • Fran
    Fran Posts: 11,281 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    5hreek,

    Those figures are totally meaningless to me. Where are they from? What "investigation" did you do and what sources did you use? What is your interest in it?
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • DrFluffy
    DrFluffy Posts: 2,549 Forumite
    The prices are shocking, but there are concessions - children, the elderly and people in hospice/long term care do not pay.
    The way I look at it is would you rather the NHS be paying for patient X to watch TV, or for patient Y to recieve expensive treatment for breast cancer... It's a hospital not an entertainments complex...PS - the hospitals do not profit from them... Patientline do.

    Patient Line is a commercial venture and a luxury... thankfully we are a nation who would rather use its very limited NHS resources to treat people rather than entertain them
    April Grocery Challenge £81/£120
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