Hospital TV and phones 'expensive and confusing' reveals Which? Which? provides top tips to avoid sky-high charges

26 June 2011

Hospital bed entertainment

Hospital bedside entertainment systems are 'expensive and confusing' for patients, a Which? survey has found.

While two thirds of Which? members surveyed felt that paid-for television and telephone systems make a stay in hospital more comfortable, 61% thought they were very poor value for money. 

And, a third found them confusing to use.

Some patients were unhappy about the quality of the service and the inflexibility of buying credits in order to watch television. 

Watching television can cost £2.50 for two hours, £5 a day or £45 for 30 days, depending on the provider. But some patients were also dissatisfied that no refunds were issued for unused TV minutes. 

Cost is main concern

Which? surveyed 1,520 members of the Which? Connect online panel in January and February 2011. 

Three quarters of those surveyed said they avoided using the hospital systems due to the cost. Telephone calls can cost friends and family between 42p-50p a minute to speak to a relative on a ward. 

Which? member Phil Griffin was stunned when he read his phone bill after calling his mother in hospital. 

He said: ‘It was good to be able to dial my mother’s bed directly, but when we got the bill a month later we were in for a shock. It was very expensive even though… we only spoke to her for a minute or two each time.’

How to avoid hefty phone bills

If you’re heading into hospital consider:

  • Phoning ahead to find out what facilities are available on your ward.
  • If you do use these systems find out exactly what you’re paying for.
  • Hospital restrictions on mobile phones have recently been relaxed. Most wards should allow them.
  • If you don’t own a mobile phone, consider buying a Pay As You Go handset from as little as £1 - see our advice on choosing the best mobile phone. You can also find the best mobile phone retailers.

If you would like to share your experience of hospital bedside systems, join our   Which? conversation.

You can also find out about our hospital car parking campaign, including how the hospital car parks in your local area have performed. 

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

Which? RSS and Twitter news feeds

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? consumer news RSS feed. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/news.xml into your newsreader.

Follow @WhichNews on Twitter for the latest news, or @WhichAction to see how we're campaigning for consumers.

 

.

Cookies at Which? We use cookies to help improve our sites. If you continue, we'll assume that you're happy to accept our cookies. Find out more about cookies