From the BBC article below.
This is sad because we, who understand technology, know that voice charges are leaning to zero! Thus, increase voice rates by 160% for patients in hospitals – is not good. In fact, I think voice calls should be free(no problem charging for movies etc). Maybe it is time to look at mobile phones in hospitals(as we are reconsidering mobile phones on aircrafts).
From the BBC below >>>>
Hospital phone charges up 160%
Patientline also provides bedside TV, radio and internet
A firm that provides phone services at thousands of NHS hospital bedsides is to increase the cost of calls by 160%.
Previously, calls made by NHS patients through Patientline phones cost 10p per minute, but that will now rise to 26p.
Patientline, which is a private company, told the BBC it had invested £160m in the system and needed to recoup its costs and make a profit.
In 2005, the firm was investigated by regulators over its charges, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Patientline also provides television screens and radio and internet services at hospital bedsides.
It said that while call charges would increase, the cost of the complete bedside “package” would fall from £3.50 a day to £2.90.
Calls to patients from outside the hospital cost 39p per minute off-peak and 49p a minute at peak times.
Patientline systems are installed at more than 75,000 hospital bedsides.
BBC Breakfast’s Graham Satchell said the government had always maintained that these services were a luxury and should not come at a cost to the taxpayer or the NHS.
And he said Patientline had admitted it was £80m in debt and currently had enough money left to only operate for the next 12 months.
The Patients Association says patients often have no choice but to use Patientline because many hospitals no longer have public pay phones.
It added that contact with relatives can have a significant impact on a patient’s wellbeing.
Andrew Stronach, from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said he had written to Patientline to formally object to the price rise and demand a meeting.
“They have agreed a stay of execution for two weeks and as a result they will not be putting up the charges here from today.”
Telecoms regulator Ofcom investigated Patientline two years ago after complaints that charges were too high.
In the past, many hospitals have operated bans on or restricted the use mobile phones within their buildings, meaning patients often had to use other phone services.
But last month, Health Minister Andy Burnham said he saw “no reason” why they could not be used within hospitals.