Saturday, 24 November 2007


Patientline - if you're lucky enough to have never been in hospital for a long stay - is a company who provides a quite vulture-istic (I don't ever pretend to give a balanced arguement, unless blatantly stated. This isn't an A-Level essay I'm writing) service within British healthcare establishment.

"... provides communication services to patients and specialist medical services to hospitals via bedside systems.

Patientline is dedicated to making people’s stay in hospital easier by providing some of the entertainment and communication choices they enjoy at home.
The Patientline bedside console provides a personal phone and personal number, and the patient can choose just when and what they want to watch on television."

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Basically they charge people to use the internet, phone line and TV, as well as selected 'games'. Call me old fashioned, but charging the weak reeks of American-like private healthcare. A lot of people talk about us sleepwalking towards such a state of affairs.

(Let's not even start talking about the price patient visitors are charged to park in hospitals, which is a quite ridiculous state of affairs with only a small part of the profits going back into hospital development.)

I'm sure an arguement from the proprietors of Patientline would argue it's an optional service and the people who 'opt out' (for opt out feel free to read 'can't afford it') do it on their own free will. But I've met patients who watched their money drip away day after day and became quite sad about it. Especially when other people are sat around you, watching their favourite programmes with their headphones on.

I just don't like it. I'm sure in America it'd probably be bundled in on a primo insurance package and that'd be just fine and dandy, but over here, until (and I mean until) we rely on what the Americans called 'socialised medicine'. I just can't swallow greedy companies nipping at the edges of the NHS, like bits of stale bread. They'll be having their fill soon enough, I fear.

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