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Ofcom To Assess The Bedside Call Charges

Ofcom, which is a telecom regulator, found that incoming call to bedside phones cost higher than the call made to Australia. It demanded the health department to review the charges levied on the bedside phones. //

This came about after the relatives of the patients started complaining of the bedside phone charges.

The company after a seven-month study found that a bedside call in the peak time costed around 49p per minute and at other times costed around 39p/minute. But on the other hand a call made to the outside world from the bedside phone costed around 24p/minute even at the peak hours.

Ofcom told that the increased price of the pone calls were due to the various rules and regulations and other policies between the service providers, (National Health Services) NHS and their trusts.

The department is already interacting with the various companies to reduce the cost of the calls and also reviewing other issues.

The Ofcom made it clear that those who do not wish to avail this service can continue with their use of the ward-based payphones and the main switchboard.

Derek Lewis who is the former prison director runs Patientline. He has his phones incorporated in about two thirds of the hospitals in England and rival premier. It was very happy news for him otherwise he has to close down his company. But because of the news his shares rose to 34p/minute, which is a whooping 40% increase.

This agreement between the government, local NHS trusts and the providers have been very successful. Now Patientline gives equipments in reduced price and increase the call charges. They can have 15-year contracts and it takes almost 7 years before the providers can see the profits.

All the callers are given a warning before they dial up about the rise in the price and incase of regular callers they can skip this warning and help them to make shorter calls.

But Mr. Lewis said that still it doe s not provide a solution to the problem. There are 75,000 consoles, which can do something more apart from the telephone calls. He said that the hospital should come forward and pay for the extra services, which will be reduced from the call charges.


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