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Private company ‘removes free access’ to hospital bedside TVs as pandemic surges

Company criticised in 2016 for doubling minimum cost of TV service tells COVID patients they have to pay to watch

Hospedia, the company that provides bedside TV units to more than 130 NHS sites, has recommenced steep charges for its service. According to hospital staff, access to the service had been free of charge since the pandemic began – but the company has now removed free access ‘without warning’.

One hospital worker told the SKWAWKBOX:

Many of the COVID patients we look after are elderly or suffering dementia and the free TV service was very helpful for them. Yesterday however, Hospedia – without warning – removed all free access and as a result, only those able or willing to pay can now access the TV functionality.

The major issue I have with this is it’s profiteering from very poorly, vulnerable people. Also, they have done so knowing the NHS is at or around capacity, with deaths higher than ever.

The comment from Hospedia to one of our poorly patients yesterday was ‘if you don’t pay, you don’t watch’

Hospedia was criticised in 2016 for doubling the minimum charge for its bedside TV service. It told the Daily Mail that it had not doubled the price but had removed a cheaper two-hour package because of ‘low demand’.

Now, as the coronavirus pandemic exceeds the number of hospital admissions and deaths seen in the first wave of the crisis, it has reinstituted steep charges to patients struggling to breathe and to maintain mental health.

The company also charges for incoming calls to patients, but provides outgoing calls free during the pandemic according to a ‘COVID-19 update’ on its website.

Hospedia was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

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15 comments

  1. Dump the TVs in the car park in the rain, charge them for parking by the hour at some equally outrageous rate.
    Chain wheel clamps to them then let them fight it out with the car park operators and the clampers.
    Greedy profiteering twats the lot of them.

  2. In years gone by hospitals provided day rooms/ Tv rooms for patients and frequently there were payphones on the wards , some mobile, some fixed. Hospitals chose to do away with these facilities and entered into a contract with d a private company to provide them at a substantial charge to patients. I stand to be corrected but I understand that the hospitals make a significant profit out of this arrangement too. Its all just part of the privatisation of hospital facilities – car parking is another grim example-and is an absolute disgrace. However when the Tories plans for the privatisation of NHS, postponed due to the pandemic , are eventually implemented paying for TV and phone calls will be the least of our worries. t

    1. Yes Smart boy I was in Hospital in Tunbridge wells last Sep for 5 days. Could not get TV to work properly. Was told was not owned by Hosp. privately contacted out to expensive to fix.
      Also while there a a woman came to see me who said she was a member of the Trust . Asked me how I was getting on ect Than said for some reason that she thought that Boris Johnson was playing a blinder. I looked surprised. In fact I nearly fell out of my bed. As I was being treated very well I thought wont say what i REALLY Thought so mumbled yes it would be pretty difficult for any Gov
      When I spent a night in ICU after the op. I had a chat with my personal nurse about the state of Co 19 ect and the political mess we were in . She agreed ect. But in the end wondered if there was any connection.
      Strange,

  3. I would not be comfortable in throwing TVs out as some people want to watch but should the NHS pay for the running, installation and maintenance of them? If not who should?

  4. I remember when, if you were in hospital for a while, you were allowed to bring in a small TV, then, they started charging for that! These companies obviously realised there was a captive potential customer base who through no fault of their own were removed from their usual links with the outside world, and then, told their own TVs were no longer allowed in hospital. This started in the days before mobile phones, so you were forced to use their services. Talk about being ‘kicked while you’re down. ‘
    Then they fleece your relatives in the car park, My car was wrongly clamped (after I’d paid and displayed in hospital car park when my partener was critical in intensive care. Trying to get the clamp removed, with a tired grumpy todler in tow, cold and rain was a nightmare. The company (had an office in the hospital) made me wait another half hour for some guy to come and remove it.

  5. Wherever there’s a crisis there’s money to be made.
    “We’re all in this together!” has a different flavour in the mouth of a Tory.

  6. Dafuq’s the matter with this country? Dafuq’s the matter with people? Where’s the as much as the simmering under the surface,; nevermind the outrage?

    Sticking down on kids food to profit – a fucking mahoosive no-no. Denying the sick & dying a bit of entertainment and escapism for the sake of a couple of measly fucking pounds…Harrowing.

    And nobody seems arsed. I don’t see any anger; just resignation.

    …Next thing is we’ll be seeing scenes reminiscent of the libertion of the nazi concentration camps with the bulldozing corpses into mass graves once they’ve sold off the rights to do wholesale funerals on the fucking cheap because they’ve deliberately fucked everything up from start to bastard finish so they can engorge their already bloated selves on OUR money…

    I despair. I’ve lost all faith in people. Society is moribund.

    Leave me alone ffs.

  7. A modern hospital would provide patient (friends, family) networking. People could use their own devices for network access to the world, to communicate with family, find out what’s going on, video chat, watch movies, write a novel, draw, paint, shoot videos, edit videos, publish videos LOL — in other words, living. Communicating. Existing. No reason the brain must die because you are bedridden. Get better faster. People log in via a QR code on the bed. People without any device🤷‍♂️ could be rented at cost. £1 a day? Corbyn’s universal broadband program would have created this sort of thing

  8. Getting better quicker isn’t a priority for private healthcare; and the way it’s going, you’re knackered if you think even getting put onto a ward isn’t a premium service.

    It’s the same as them private companies (The usual vermin) running kids’ homes. Rather than letting the kids get fostered out/adopted, they put every sort of obstacle in the child’s path so they’re stuck in the home, and they can rake it in.

    Amoral, bottom-feeding scum, devoid of any scruples or decency, doing everything they can to make a buck off other’s misery.

    But people are more interested in so-called celebrity gobshites falling on their arses while cooking salad or painting houses, or other such inane dross that passes for ‘entertainment’ these days.

    They’ll get what they deserve.

  9. Nobody’s mentioning the underlying issue – apparently the Tory propaganda has succeeded so well it’s now a dirty word – never to be spoken, even by socialists, even amongst themselves.
    Taxation.
    Public provision REQUIRES that we be taxed at a higher rate as our incomes rise – and actually pay what we owe instead of bribing corrupt governments to let us pay less tax the richer we get, and to stuff our earnings in tax havens before HMRC even knows they exist.

  10. Charging/data points and a secure locker would be enough for anyone with their own tablet – wouldn’t need many tablet-sized TVs for those who don’t have or can’t use them.
    In a Lifeproof armoured case tablets easily survive falling on the floor, being sat on or getting wet.
    No need for those stupid great crane jibs taking up acres of space and bumping staff on the head either – just from the photo I can tell those things cost ten or twenty times the price of a TV to build.

  11. After a long stay in hospital a few years back following a spinal accident, I had to deal with Hospedia – a truly dreadful experience. They are not cheap. Indeed, the Sunday Mirror covered increase of charges, with reporter Nick Owens stating that the cost of hospital television was £9 per day, a higher figure than that paid by prison inmates. They do no refunds if you are moved to another ward – the TV itself is the charging point, . .
    As you can epect, they are owned by a private equity company specialising in private health and social care, Los Angeles based Marlin Inc (A Marlin is, aptly, a voracious shark).The good news – so many patients these days use mobiles and tablets which can provide the same service far cheaper, and most hospitals have access to NHS wi-fi, and Hospedia is running at a loss, it seems…….

    1. The only way to deal with this sort of highway robbery is, don’t use their product!
      Privatisation by the back door.
      It all needs kicking out, along with this Tory Government.

    2. Marlin are voracious enough, but they’re not sharks. They’re an ocean game fish, highly prized by US fishermen.
      Some of them can reach about 65mph, or so I’ve read. Beautiful irridescent Blue Marlin look too beautiful to kill but Yanks hunt them like buffalo anyway.

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