Patientline, the beleaguered monopoly supplier of communication services to UK hospital patients, has dropped its prices back to the pre-April level of 10 pence a minute for outgoing calls: incoming calls remain at the outrageous 49p a minute.
The company paid a fortune to fit specially-manufactured equipment beside hospital beds during the dot com boom, when any kind of Internet access was guaranteed to make money. Now that equipment is largely used to watch TV and make phone calls and they're having a terrible time getting a return on their investment.
Squeezing more money out of patients isn't good publicity, but with an increasing number of hospitals allowing mobile phones there's not much time left for Patientline to make their money back: charging 10p for 2.5 minutes of web browsing just isn't going to cover it.
Dropping their prices isn't going to help their £80m debt. Perhaps someone should start thinking about alternative uses for the 75,000 arm-mounted screens they’ve got installed in hospitals around the country.®