Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hospital phone charges

I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.

I've just opened our monthly phone bill (on the envelope it says, "Don't worry, this is from Talk Talk") to discover our bill for this month is over £114! The reason? My wife's father has had an extended stay in hospital and she has been ringing him on his NHS provided bedside phone. What she and I didn't realize is that this costs the caller 50p per minute.

The result is that about 160 minutes of call time translated into £80 on the bill.

So if its your relatives in hospital, let 'em sit there, I say.

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  1. Hospital Charges are a disgrace. I think the phones and TV's by beds are provided by private companies and they take a major rakeoff.

    Last week my spouse was in hospital overnight. Car parking is £1 per 30 minutes. I paid £17.00 for the 7 hours I was there, while they operated and waiting for her to come round and speak to me.

    The following day, I paid another £11 while waiting for her to be discharged.

    The scandal is that NHS Staff pay these prices as well as they do not have free parking.

    How a Public Service can be permitted to rip off the sick and vulnerable in this way is another facet of the Tory and Labour treatment of creating markets in the NHS, pouring money in but employing more and more administrators and less and less clinical staff.

    The NHS swallows money, but we get less and less service. Hospitals in SE London and North Kent are being downgraded and hundreds of beds are being closed due to overspends.

    Primary Care Trusts, who in reality hold the purse strings of the Hospitals build their Super Medical Centres or Minor Inuries units to take even more money away from the hospitals.

    Time for a new Government, not of the main parties I think, but it won't happen.

    Rant Over!!

  2. A Cheaper option is buy a mobile pay as you go from Tescos. At least won't get ripped off.

    Richard Wood
    East London

  3. Yeah - hospital phones are provided on contract by private companies, who bid for the privilege of being able to make money out of the sick and desperate.

    There was a court case a few years ago, IIRC, which overturned the ban on using mobile in hospitals, because it turned out it was only really to protect the profits of the people who operated the phone systems.

    John Allister

  4. Thanks for the words of wisdom Richard. but my father isn't able to use a mobile phone!. That's exactly why these companies are able to exploit the elderly and vulnerable..

    Alison Richardson

  5. What we should have done was buy him cards to use the phone to call us - but knowledge comes with experience (and in any case Alison says he wouldn't know how to do it!)

    What I keep thinking about is little old ladies, perhaps with a husband in hospital, who get hit with a phone bill like that without realizing it, and don't have the money in the bank.

  6. Seriously, just reading this makes my blood boil, it really is sickening greed.

  7. The greed of "public servants" to rip off the public is extraordinary. This is just one example of how services that once saw service as their mission got greedy during the John Major years.

    "If it feels good do it" was the message of the 60's. That generation is now in power. The hosital administrators doubtless felt pretty good when they negotiated that contract. Patients? Who they?