Colour me surprised...
..that, with their high prices and shoddy equipment, Patientline isn't immensely profitable.
I was in Oxford hospitals for two months during autumn 2004 and again briefly in mid-2005. I was distinctly underwhelmed with the Patientline service:
- the TV picture was of such low quality that it was unwatchable during the day: not very bright, low contrast and blurred. I've seen much better picture quality in the USA.
- the choice of channels was small and entirely advert-ridden. No BBC channels were available.
- the only advertised price was 10p/min for outgoing calls. I coundn't find a full list of costs anywhere.
- this was further ramped up by the policy of only allowing a patient to pay by using a special charge card, which was only sold in multiples of a fiver. There was no way of claiming back unspent value. All you could do was to give the card to the next victim.
- we didn't know about the 49p/min incoming call cost until my sister rang me. This charge was NOT advertised in advance, so it came as a most unwelcome surprise.
- the hospital coverage in Oxford is fairly minimal: the John Radcliffe had it, but the John Radcliffe Infirmary and the Nuffield Orthopaedic unit did not.
In short, I thought Patientline was ripping off a captive audience and, in consequence, used its services as little as possible. Fortunately visitors kept giving me books.
That Patientline should be in trouble smacks of gross incompetence at best. It serves them right for being a bunch of grasping b******s.