Saturday, May 19

More, Much More About Patientline

Patientline The Sickness and the Cure
By Peter Troy

This morning I was telephoned by a national journalist and asked to summarise why I resigned from Patientline, why I had I done so did so in a blaze of publicity and what if anything can be done to cure the Patientline problem. Is Patientline in terminal decline?

In the beginning the effectiveness of good quality affordable entertainment and communication equipment in hospitals was rightly recognised by the government when it encouraged Patientline and two other newly formed companies to install at their shareholders expense equipment that would deliver a quality service to NHS Patients at the bedside throughout the country and subsequently provide a healthy return to investors.

The largest and by far the most controversial of these companies is Patientline UK - a publicly quoted company whose corporate bold statement was, up to last month: “taking care of communications”. The patient power programme that fuelled the growth of bedside TV and telephone units had major fault lines running through the plan which widened and deepened with time. Currently the gulf between the conceptual vision and the actuality is vast, possibly like the British Health Service itself - that though is a huge story for another day.

I resigned from my part-time position with Patientline at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough (a job which I first enjoyed) because I could not work for a company that has quite clearly in my view, despite its many statements to the contrary, very little practical understanding of the needs of its customers, who are obviously (but not to Patientline's Directors and senior Managers at its head office in Slough) sick and very ill people and/or are relatives of patients who are in stressed and often in states of acute anxiety.

At the beginning of April Patientline announced that it was introducing a new price structure for the users of its frequently faulty hospital bedside units. Patientline which is in deep financial difficulty with its shares at rock bottom prices with debts of over £85 million has been told by the Department of Health (DofH) that there is no good reason why tax payer’s money should be used to bail out the company that operates in 160 hospitals throughout the country.

The Patientline's bedside units provide TV, Radio, Computer Games, Internet and telephone services to patients. Last month Patientline restructured its prices in the forlorn hope of increasing revenue. The move backfired generating an outcry in the nations media and falling sales on the wards.

Out went the reduced concession for over 65s (having a few months previously increased the age qualification from 60). The complimentary free 30 minutes viewing granted when patients first signed on together with the free two minute 'phone call from the bedside was terminated. Also done away with was the concessionary rate available for long term patients who had been Patientline customers for over 14 days continuous use.

Up went the cost of telephone calls from the bedside to an exorbitant 26 pence per minute with no mention that the charge starts from the commencement of the ringing tone when the call is made - so a call to a wrong number or a voice mail will cost 40p. Press Patientline's senior management or technicians on that specific point and they go into instant denial. A couple of short calls from a hospital bedside say 10 minutes each day will cost at over £5. An incoming call at the peak rate costs 49 p per minute (off peak 39p), as most calls from concerned loved ones would be at least 10 minuets in duration that is a not very cool £4.90 ! Long calls to sick relatives are not recommended a 30 minute call from a BT land line will set back a relative £15 – ‘phone from a mobile then apply for a bank loan the call would need to be to a much loved one!

The cost of TV viewing for older people, who represent over two thirds of patients in hospital, was increased to the 'new daily rate'. Previously over 65s were paying £1.70 that is now £2.90 per day in all but a few hospitals operated by Patientline.
The Daily Rate was reduced but as we have described in a previous posts (click labels at the bottom) it has a nasty sting in the tail and in practice provides little improved benefit. The daily cost is in practice the same or more than it was prior to Patientline’s price announcement which is best described as being economical with the truth.
Patients TV viewing needs should dove-tail with the Patientline pricing structure - since April they are about as far out of alignments as it is possible to get.

If Patientline had wanted to upset Medical, Nursing, Care, Support, Administrative and even Patientline's own Staff as well as many Journalists focusing on medical issues and particularly Patients and their visitors Patientline could not have done a better job. Patientline Directors and Senior Managers are clearly oblivious to the anger that they have generated in the hospital community by their ill thought out price changes last month and indeed their ongoing 'modus operandi'.

The cost of Patientline’s services is not the only major concern. In my eighteen months with the company I would estimate that between 5-10 per cent of the equipment that effected Patients viewing at the site at which I worked was at any one time in a variety ways faulty. Patientline's front line staff and call centre personnel were constantly inundated with complaints about faulty equipment. The mostly dedicated staff, who have not been awarded a pay rise (apart from minimal group performance awards) for over two years often suffered from stress related illnesses. Staff turnover was and remains high and in my personal experience the local management had very little skill (or willingness) to properly address customer complaints about faulty equipment which further added more stress to an otherwise stressful job.

Patientline increasingly have tried to address the issue of how to increase their sales. But as a lumbering top heavy corporate monster they have badly fumbled it. Rather than reduce the cost of their services and simplify the buying process their remote and very well paid (and perhaps in terms of performance over paid) executives demonstrated no understanding of the needs of sick people and made matters worse by adding to the cost and complexity of using the bedside systems. Giving much needed compensation to customers was actively discouraged by directives from senior managers - though in my case I openly ignored instruction not to give free TV, to patients who had suffered from faulty equipment.

Staff were increasing put under a lot of pressure to hit targets - sell more TV time to sick people - obtain 'phone numbers of friends and family from patients in order that automated messages could be sent encouraging return calls that would cost at least 39 pence per minute. The company supported childish staff incentives such a "beat the manager" (at obtaining phone numbers of relatives of Patients) campaign which was launched in Teesside at a particularly hyped dreadful direct sales training session. One site manager was well known for her shrieking at staff about performance figures. If Patientline's Chairman, Mr Geoff White, is outraged at these particular comments I am pleased and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with him my eighteen months in the service of his company in detail.

Clearly Patientline do not understand the needs of their customers, if they did more than the present 38 per cent of all hospital patients (a figure that is falling) where Patientline has installed bedside units would become customers. The quality of the service that Patientline provided during my contractual period with the company at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough was in my firm view not fit for purpose. Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive, Trust Directors, Medical Consultants and Investigative Journalists would demand serious improvements or cessation of Patientline’s operation if details of the stress that are being caused by Patientline's failings were fully investigated.
Financially Patientline is a basket case; though this has not stopped the company from recently paying out for a "rebranding" .

Gone is the company strap line: ''taking care of communications''. Well not to do so would probably have rendered Patienline liable to a prosecution following any investigation by any half competent trading standards officer.

Either Patientline dramatically changes their corporate culture - the current pricing re-structure debacle demands, I belligerently suggest, the sacking no less of at least one senior executive and/or Director - and also embarks urgently on a strategy of lower prices. It is perfectly feasible that the charge of £1 per day for TV viewing to all patients and 10 pence per minute for all incoming and out going calls billed by the second. Without doubt this will massively increase usage on the wards; providing an urgent injection of money into the body of the company. Complementary TV should be provided to any long term (say over a month) patient Advertising revenue could easily be generated and is where Patientline's sales efforts should be directed; not at the sick in their beds.

Currently sick people that do use Patientline’s systems mostly resent doing so, at the time of leaving Patientline the company showed no sign of understanding that vital point, let alone acting on it.

It is inevitable that Patientline will fail (causing yet further stress to NHS Staff and Patients) unless there is a dramatic change in the company's operations and culture. In any event there is a need for Political intervention - one that Patientline is remiss in not instigating it self (I did on three occasions write to the Management and the previous Chairman with a detailed recommendations - I was never given the courtesy of a reply).

Britain's new Prime Minister in waiting could achieve huge popularity with a well timed solution. The problem is in some part caused by a failure of Government Policy, the much hyped Patient Power programme was well favoured by Messrs Blair and Milburn. Mr Gordon (Prudence) Brown was recently made aware of Patientlines withdrawing of free TV to a long-term patient when he visited a hospital. Mother of a Patient Linda Smith challenged the Chancellor at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, after cutbacks meant patients would have to pay £2.90 a day to watch TV. The Chancellor's own son Fraser suffers with Cystic Fibrosis. Mrs Smith's son Greg, 24, makes regular stays at the hospital and was angry that Patientline, which had provided the service for free, stopped doing so. Patientline’s crass ignorance of the well known fact that if you take something away especially from vulnerable people they will be resentful is beyond belief. Thanks to Gordon Brown this particular story has a happy ending, at the forceful instance of the local NHS Trust Patientline restored the free TV service for the long term patients they had so badly upset.

It was, incidentally, with the same crass stupidity and total failure to understand that to win the hearts and minds of NHS was fundamental to its success that last year Patientline abolished the free TV viewing for NHS staff if they were admitted into hospital.

Patientline reduced the benefit to the lower rate applicable to Patients over 65. I assume that is now a non-benefit; since that lower rate has now been removed. How not to win friends and influence people that truly matter!

I think, I will write to Mr Brown's Principle Private Secretary (maybe there is no need since he reads this blog) with a policy recommendation that HHS Hospital Trusts take over Patientline’s services with newly formed non-profit making companies (this can be forced to happen by Influence, Act of Parliament or, maybe, by an Order in [Privy] Council). Patientline will probably fail anyway and the Government will need to consider a plan to continue the service to hospital patients.

I am currently organising a petition at 150 hospitals where Patientline operate. Patientline’s management are not particularly happy about this and are ordering their staff to remove the documents from ward notice boards. Never mind the organisation that I am establishing is currently receiving the Petition at the rate of an average of 42 signatures per ward. There is going to be a lot of heavy boxes to carry down Whitehall next month to Mrs Hewitt’s office. Volunteers will be needed, please.

So there we are. Do I have any regrets about leaving Patientline in a blaze of Publicity? Yes one, as I wrote in the Evening Gazette (the Middlesbrough daily newspaper) last week I am sorry in many ways that I am no longer working with the committed, dedicated positive underpaid and over worked team of Staff at Patientline’s office in Middlesbrough. I have no doubt that all other front line and indeed the call centre staff at Dumfries are the same. They deserve public recognition for all they have done in the wards and on the telephone and continue to do to help sick (some very) people to derive some pleasure by being able to access their Patientline bedside units. They continue to work despite the insensitivity and constraints of a large failing and over extended corporate organisation that as I and others have illustrated in recent weeks clearly has no shame.

Finally then, in answer to the question that was posed to me this morning why did I resign from Patientline in a blaze of publicity on 30 April? Well as J F Kennedy once said: ''no one man can change the world but every man should try''. I am trying.

James Cook University Hospital Middlesbrough

The above piece is dedicated to the memory of Lynn a former Midwifery Sister who spent much of her past 8 years as a patient in Ward 9 of James Cook University Hospital. I was delighted to provide this lady with free TV for the last few months of her life (it was one of her few remaining pleasures and the cost to her family was prohibitive). My giving this most deserving person free viewing was in defiance to the express wishes of the Management of Patientline. Lynn had, from the accounts of so many, dedicated most her life to the well being of countless young patients. It was an honour to know her in her final days.

Peter Troy
County Durham, UK


How to protest about Patientline:

To obtain a petition form Email or call Peter Troy on 01740 629433

Call Patientline - that will be very effective - on 0800 959 3100 - the call is free!



Anonymous said...

THe NHS specified the very high level system that they required to be installed in the original contract.. that is why it is costing patients money, the private company was never able to operate at a profitable level as the original cost of putting in all the wiring and buying the terminals was so high. Now the company owes the banks about 80 million pounds and it has to pay interest on this at commercial rates. If the government was to take over this overdraft and charge Patientline a very low rate of interest it could reduce its charges.

Peter Troy said...

OK Anonymous - lets first get the terminology correct. Patientline is a Public Company and there is no such thing as 'Government money' it is Tax Payers money. And it is 85 million that Patientline owes the banks, check it out their Annual Peport, it is on the company web site.

One must assume that the Directors would have worked out that they would have to pay both interest and the capital back to the banks after they had borrowed it; it is common practice.

Patientline have been asking the Department of Health's senior Civil Servants for over a year to pay a subsidy in order that they, Patientline could charge less for incomming and out going telephone calls. The Department of Health announced a few months ago that they could see no reason to give Patientline any Tax payers money.

Patientline's response was to increase the cost of out going calls and to put up the price of TV viewing for older patients -hardly a caring attitude is it ?

I assume Anonymous that you are a Patientline employee - few others would defend the company so blatantly. Why not ask your bosses why they do not reduce the cost of their products (and thus sell more) and also try to win the hearts and mind of NHS staff and patients - it is after all a basic commercial practice.

Thank you for your contribution, please log on again soon

PT - Editor.

Stewed Cabbage said...

Patientline's vital signs are ebbing. In the first half of this financial year, sales were down and losses up. What's more, the MD and FD have gone. The company has closed its US operation and sold its profitable Netherlands subsidiary to reduce debt.

Sarah Hopperty said...

Who is that looking over your shoulder Peter in the picture ?

Peter Troy said...

Sarah -

It is probably someone try to take care of communications but not realising that it is too late!

Anonymous said...

please can you explain to me why we need such high-tech equipment in our hospitals? What happend to the phone trolleys that plugged in by the beds?

where did the TV lounge's go that any patient could sit in and watch TV or converse with other patients on the ward, in a more relaxed surroundings?

Would our older patient know how to operate a high level system,
(because, I know I would not, and I not at retiring age yet.)

simplicity is clear and easy to cope with, exspecially when one is fighting an illness too.

Did we really need high-tech systems that we cannot afford?

Sister Nightingale from South Tees Hospital said...

Protestors and you can bet your bottom Very British Pound that I will be one of them had better be quick in making that call to Patientline's free phone number. What's the betting that Patientline change it from an 0800 number to a brand spanking new premium rate one !!

Excellent Blog by the way.

Sarah Hopperty said...

Well, if thousands of people do call that Patientline number and complain it will make a difference.

But Patients can not call 0800 numbers from their hospital bed, but I think they can call an operater.

Sister Nightingale's bottom pound would be a safe bet but Ladbrooks would take a hiding if they opened a book on it. It would be a much better investment than buying some penny shares in Patientline.

Christeen Crow said...

I experienced the patient line service during regular visits to see my late father who was in hospital in Bristol for several weeks last year.

Firstly the service is very expensive to use and takes advantage of patient’s situation, as there are often no alternative services. They are not particularly easy for patients to use and I saw several patients asking the nursing staff for assistance, distracting them from what they were doing.

Not only are the services expensive for the patient, they are also very expensive for relatives and friends phoning in, with calls costing 39 or 49 per minute and I don’t believe they are advised of this when making the call.

The equipment is quite cumbersome and often gets in the way, a cause of irritation for both staff and patients. It can also be a cause of stress for patients - If the phone rings the patient often has to struggle to locate the system, which has generally been moved out of the way. The systems were also prone to breaking down; I saw several being repaired over the weeks.

In addition, patients are often moved around the hospital and not all wards had the service available, so once you topped up your payment card it could become useless if you were moved to another ward and there appeared to be no way of obtaining a refund.
In theory offering patients the use of TV, telephone, games and internet services is a good idea, but I believe Patient line has purely been pursued as a business adventure, not for the purpose of providing a good service to patients but for the purpose of trying making money by taking advantage of vulnerable people.

Christine Crowe

valerie G. Tibbles said...

Having just taken a patientinneed petition form into work, to ask my work colleges for there support, I was very supprised at their reactions too it.

I thought that I would have to beg them for their support.

I was expecting to have to go into a great detailed account of patientlines rates.

"How wrong was I"

Everyone I spoke to had a story to tell of how there friends and family had problems with the communiction systems in hospital, and just how exspensive it was.

My colleges were only to pleased to sign their names to the petition. Not one refused.

So I would like to say thankyou Patientline for making it so easy for me to fill the petition forms If it was not for your lack of care and the very low standards of service you provide, it would not have been so easy to fill up the form with so many willing signitures of dissatified customers, "you just made it too easy".

I also say "Good on you Mr Troy" for standing by your principles, setting this protest in motion takes courage. This world would be a better place if there were more people like you who stood up to be counted.

Valerie G. Tibbles
(Support Worker for learning disabilities) Worthing. West Sussex

The Staff. Bognor Regis. West Sussex. (support workers too)

P.S. Please can we have more petition forms, have more very willing protesters, who want to add their signitures to your prostest.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I understand that you left patientline on Moral grounds. Today on BBC news another ex employee was on. Chris. Why did Chris leave Patientline? Was that also on Moral grounds?

Peter Troy said...

OK, Anonymous I will ask 'Chris' and post his reply. Whatever his reasons for leaving it makes no difference to his experiences whilst working for Patientline. The clear issue is that he and I were making on camera this morning is that Patientline changed in stages the working practice of its front line staff from advisors to that of sales staff. Both 'Chris' and I were witnesses and participents of the working practices and management instructions that we both felt were contrary to a hospital ward environment. Comments on those issues were well made and well ignored by Patientline Management at all levels.

When Patientline were ecomomical with the detail of the April price changes, abolished the over 60's rate and increased the callout rate by 160 per cent it was time to leave and protest. That protest will continue until Patientline's Directors reduce their prices to affordable levels or cease trading.

Thank you for your comment, I hope that you do not have a too difficult a working day in Patientline's employ!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, did you ask "Chris" why he left Patientline? you did say you would ask him and post his answer back here. For your information I do not and have never worked for patientline, but one of my friends used to. He left to further his career. but isn't as bitter as you. Like myself he believes in freedom of choice. What you are doing is trying to take that choice away from people.

Peter Troy said...

I have no doubt that ''Chris'' will respond to your question on this blog shortly. However as I stated before it makes no material difference to the issue under discussion. Try and rise above the 'soap opera' issues and think of the negative effect on Patients as a result of Patientline's commercial practices.

I am not bitter, far from it. I am campaigning for a better deal for patients. I resigned when and only when Patientline increased the price of out going phone calls at the bedside and very substantially increased the price of watching bedside TV for older people. I did so a some personal cost to myself. As a result of an accident I am temporally unable to walk properly; because of complications I would have been ''on the sick'' until February. Rather than remain a Patientline employee and be paid six months of sickness benefit I resigned since an important point of principle was at stake. It also frees up a job - if someone is desperate enough to chose to take it.

How you can say that I am taking away choice from people amazes me. I am fighting to increase choice - lower television charges and lower phone call costs on Patientline's Bedside Units. This will mean that Patients will have more choice !

If Patientline (UK) Ltd cannot operate the systems successfully then as I have explained on this comments section a Not for Profit organisation can be established to take over the Patientline operation in each of the Trusts in which they operate.

It will not be anything I do that will force the situation to which I think you elude whereby Patientline ceases to trade. It will be Patientline's Bankers foreclosing on the company next April/May because, in part, the Department of Health refuse to allow Patientline to be given a grant of 26 million per year of tax payers money. Three times (as I have detailed in my postings) I explained to Patientline that they were going about seeking government financial support the wrong way - they were talking to civil servants, not, as they should be lobbying Politicians. I have since been proven correct.

Bitter no - very annoyed at the distress that Patientline are causing on the wards, yes.

Anonymous said...

So your way of getting more patient choice is to force a struggling company into administration? there is no logic in that? All you seem to be doing is causing more problems for the staff of patientline plc by increasing negative press. I do not knwow what your background is but I don't think it will be in a business management role. It seems to me that you want things for nothing. Maybe you should look around you. everything has it's price and if you want it you pay for it. If you don't you don't have to. Maybe I should go rob my local shop as I would like a nice bottle of wine right now but I don't want to pay for it.
I got an email recently regarding the demise of our old friend "common sense". rather fitting for this subject.

Peter Troy said...

More patient choice is to reduce the price of Patientlines services which will increase the usage. My early working background is Retail Sales. When a shop wishes to increase sales it lowers the prices of its stock and most defiantly it does not upset its customers, a lesson that Patientline has yet to learn.

Granted lowering prices will reduce its gross margins. However since less than 40 per cent of hospital patients are currently Patienline customers turnover can only go up as prices come down; clearly common sense.

Patientline's staff are experiencing adverse comments on the wards because of an over expensive, unreliable product that is being delivered to sick people by a corporate monopoly that has yet to understand who its customers truly are. That was the first lesson that I was taught at that rather nice management school in Oxford.

Anonymous said...

I take it this was a day course that you failed as you don't seem to know anything about how a business is run. My phone bill has gone up this month, so has my sky subscription, the petrol costs more that I put in my vehicle. Maybe I should launch a petition and call the media with a crap story so that I can get on TV and look a fool. It's people like you that have made this country what it is. A place where people expect everything for free and don't want to work / pay for it.

Just go crawl back under your stone and leave Patientline and other UK businesses alone.

Peter Troy said...

If you want a sensible debate Anoymous based on fact and logic that is fine. If you wish to make silly comments that is also fine but do not expect me to waste my valuable time responding to your personal attacks

Anonymous said...

peter, look at what you are doing, how is it sensible and logical? If you find that a personal attack then sorry. but it is a bit pathetic isn't it?
Anyway, you must have plenty of time that you quit your job. If only I had the money to be able to quit my job. But I suppose I had better go now as I am on nights tonight. Although I could quit based on principles and then expect everything for free.

Anonymous said...

Ive just been sent an email with a link to this page from Peter, I think I have been referred to as "Chris". I agreed to be interviewed by the BBC to give my version of my experience at Patientline.

I hated the job at Patientline, I felt the way that we were pressured to make sales and approach ill people was unfair/immoral and some of the hard selling I witnessed by other employees/managers made me cringe it was so inappropriate.

I recall one time a gentleman had been told by my manager that she would return to his bed before dinnertime to refund an unused £5 tv card, and by chance I was passing by the wards and was stopped by the patient, told Patientline was a bunch of robbers, was swore at, and had the £5 card thrown at me. The managers couldnt have cared less about the way the Patients were being treated and from what I witnessed, they were constantly unbeliavably reluctant to give out valid refunds or visit unhappy/neglected patients and instead would instruct us to give them a phone number to call head office if they wanted to complain and pass them off (ignore and continue going round trying to sell cards).

I agree that nothing comes for free in this world, but there must be a balance of paying for facilities with fair prices and fair ethics by a company. There was nothing fair or ethical when we were told to go through Patients phonebooks(which i also witnessed) and get as many phonenumbers from relatives (without the patient understanding what was really going on, we were told to make it sound like it was part of the normal registration process) in the hope that patients/relatives would use the phones (at a horribly expensive rate) and increase profit for Patientline.

I cannot agree with "anonymous" comments that people like People have made this country what it is, "where everyone expects everything for free". What kind of an attitude is that? People have to stand up and be prepared to put themselves out there if they want to be noticed and achieve change.

Anonymous, you said - "everything has it's price and if you want it you pay for it. If you don't you don't have to." Which is true. None of the patients HAD to pay for anything. But I, and others, were told by the managers to send out as many voicemail messages from Patient beds that when listened to by a relative said " X Patient has asked us to send you their personal telephone number, they can be called at....."

We were told to obtain these numbers under the guise that it was a routine part of the registration process and that all Patients had to send out these numbers. This was reinforced by the fact that the targets were set out as in any one 8 hour shift, we were told by management to have a minimum of 15 of these numbers sent out from patients.

That is not the way ANY company in England should be run, and I dont think you can have a go at Peter for standing up and trying to get people to notice what is going on inside Patientline.

I know why I did the interview, because we were appalled at the way things were going, and hoped it could make the Patientline bosses who have the power to change things, realise the huge changes that they need to make if they want a sucessful business that treats patients how they should be treated.

Feel free to have a go at me, ask me any questions you have.


Anonymous said...

people like Peter*...should really check what I write before I post.

Anonymous said...

I have to write again,

I really cannot believe, what I have just read from Anonymous.

What part of "crawl back under your stone" is not a personal attack.

Why would anyone think that was, NOT A PESONAL ATTACK.

What charm school did you attend Anonymous, I hope it was not my tax payers money they used for you, because you failed miserable on your day course.

I would ask for my money back if I were you. You are NO LADY OR GENTLEMAN ANONYMOUS, I am glad I do not know you personally.

Right having got my views out on you excedingly bad manners Anonymous, ( why are you Anonymous? How can you slander someone, and not have the guts to say who you are? Apart from obviously being a coward, as well as rude. I find the klu klux klan and masked gunmen spring into my mind, when people hid their identities),

I will continue on, I asked my college at work how her husband was?( he is in hospital after a serious back operation) she said he was ok, but was unhappy that he could not keep in contack with his 3 daughters, because he couldn't afford the cost of the phone.

He is self-employed, has to watch every penny he has as he,s a gardener, most of his work is during the summer months, he has to budget for every scenario possible, this operation was unexpected. So over inflated prices for phone/tv/internet systems were not included.

Now what does that tell you Anonymous?

Patients want to use the system, yes, I agree they do, but they can't afford to use it that is the problem,

WHERE IS THE CHOICE THERE? The choice is use it, or not use it?

Most patients do not use it because of the cost. That is why patientline is going down the drain.

When I go shopping, I have a choice of what shops to use, eg. Tesco, sainsburys, asda, somerfield, morrisons, waitrose, I go where I can get the best value for my money. I have a choice of six at least.

What choice do patients have? Patientline or Nothing, Most are choosing nothing.

Everyone wants a phone system, everyone, I am sure will be willing to pay, but people young or old will not willingly allow a company to rip them off. So stand up, be counted if you want to fight in patientsline corner, stop hiding there.

Valerie Tibbles Worthing, sussex

Abigail Jordan said...

Is patientline the only company that owns these systems? Why is there no other company that run them in hospitals? We can chose what hospital we want to go into now, why cant we chose what communications we want to use.

What happend to freedon of choice?

Roy Andrews said...

I am a pensioner, I didnt get a choice. I went in for my hip. didnt use the bloody thing, didnt know how to work it. couldnt afford it on my money. Get rid of the things, I say, bring back the phone box & the TV, who wants the net thingy, we are sick, get sicker too at the price.

Anonymous said...

I'm really shocked at the negativity I see in the media and on here about Patientline systems. I have just come out of hospital after spending a month in with a liver problem. Although the system costs to use I would rather have it than not at all. I have cable TV at home so I'm use to paying to get a choice of tv programms. I only used the phone to ask my wife to bring things in for me. Surely that's all it's intended for. not for half hour conversations. Above all I was able to forget I was in hospital for a while but "getting lost" in tv programms. The staff were fantastic and not at all pushy as was said on tv recently. One of them was actually very talkative and made me smile.

Patientline offer a fantastic service and let's hope they keep it up. It's about time they had some good press and not all these moaners slagging them off.
I will certainly be using there services again if i'm unfortunate enough to end up back in hospital.

John Elliot, Middlesbrough.