Sunday, July 22

Patientline Rate is Sick

Letter published in the Middlesbrough Gazette last week.
Patientline which has been repeatedly slated by hospital patients and this blog for its high charges, is desperatly attempting last ditch atempts to continue talks with its bankers, which include RBS, HBoS and HSBC.

Patientline, which has terminals next to 72,500 beds in 150 British hospitals, is estimated to be paying around £8m a year in interest after its borrowings soared over the last three years. Patietientline anounced ongoing losses of £7.2 million last month.

In April, as we on this Blog commented on Patientline when the company more than doubled the cost of outgoing call charges from 10p a minute to 26p at some of its hospitals, an unsuccessful move which the company was expected to review after it was dubbed a tax on the sick. Only in a few hospitals did Patientline's ever remote Directors reduce the rate to 20p a minute - though the minimum call rate remains 40p!

Patientline was slammed by all hospital user groups for its charging structure, which included charging 49p a minute for incoming telephone calls, prompting calls for another Ofcom investigation, following a previous one in 2005. At least 10 per cent of Patientline' s bedside units remain faulty at any one time.

The firm appointed turnaround specialists Close Brothers to overhaul the business last November, however their efforts are failinmg (it was an impossible task) and the company, we expect will shortly cease trading.

Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison said last month : "Patientline is paying the price of ripping off vulnerable patients. The fact is if they charged more reasonable prices then more patients might consider using their services."
We on this blog agree 100 per cent with Unison. Gordon Brown will soon need to order the setting up of non-profofit making trusts in each hospital to continue the Patientline Service for sick people. The Prime Minister had better hurry though Patientline is in intensive care and looking very grim.


June said...

How is the petition coming on Peter? When will you be presenting it?

Peter Troy said...

Thanks for asking June. October - an online Petition will be launched tomorrow- I hope!

Anonymous said...

i canny believe the response to patientline, i have been in hospital and enjoyed using television at bedside, you have to budget your money on how you can use bedside phone and tv, i hardly used phone and told family not to phone me to keep costs down, the ward staff can still take calls from my family about me, and i noticed pay phones all round corridors at royal infirmary in edinburgh, i would be dissapointed if i didnt have tv at my bedside if i have to go in again, patientline are in serious debt so it looks like its possible they will take it out, use it or lose it as the saying goes, everyone critises everyone when it comes to paying for anything, thats life unfortunately nothing free unless your a druggie or alchoholic then your on to a freebie life, thats what gets my back up, i could moan all day about them and i would be justified, think about the money these people are costing us over there lifetime, ill set up a petition to get them of their butts and get a job thats what i object to my tax and national insurance being paid to and young single mums on income support, but the boyfriends are living with them and they still claim income support.