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Hospital telephone calls may get cheaper

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Patients may benefit from cheaper calls from their hospital beds after a company providing the services was taken over.

Newly formed company Hospedia Ltd has bought the hospital telephones and televisions firm Patientline.

Hospedia plans to lower incoming call charges for patients to 20p, compared to 49p a minute charged by Patientline.

The company plans to offer improved services, including better internet-access and on-demand movies, as well as providing a further 20,000 hospital beds with services.

Hospedia is also buying Patientline’s rival company Premier Telesolutions, subject to the approval of the Office of Fair Trading.

In all, the company will operate telephone services from around 200 NHS hospitals across the country

Patientline’s bankers have agreed with Hospedia to write off £35m of its debts. More than £12m will be invested in updating telephone and television units if plans go ahead. The Office of Fair Trading should have completed the review process by October.

Tim Sherwood, Hospedia chairman, said: ‘Our goal is to rebuild consumer confidence in NHS bedside entertainment systems.’

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