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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Firm vows patient call charges cut


28 July, 2008  

Thousands of patients have been promised cheaper call charges by the new owner of a failed hospital telephones and televisions firm.

Patientline, which has struggled under an £85 million debt burden, was placed in administration and immediately bought by newly-formed company Hospedia.

Hospedia is also buying Patientline rival Premier Telesolutions. The overall group will be run by Premier boss Tim Weil, subject to approval from competition watchdogs.

Hospedia said its intention was to lower incoming call charges for patients paying up to 49p a minute by Patientline.

Incoming call prices are likely to fall to the 20p-a-minute charged by Premier if the deal goes ahead. The Office of Fair Trading should make a decision by October.

The new company also plans to add another 20,000 terminals to the 80,000 already operated by the two businesses across the UK, and offer better services such as improved internet access and on-demand movies.

Patientline found servicing its heavy debts proved too much following bad publicity over price hikes, lower bed occupancy and a more relaxed attitude to patients using mobile phones on wards.

Hospedia chairman Tim Sherwood, a former Vodafone director, said: “Our goal is to rebuild consumer confidence in NHS bedside entertainment systems.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Patientline