The cost of hospital bedside phone and television services will be reviewed by the government amid calls to curb “extortionate” prices, MPs have heard.
Health minister Simon Burns said the government would be “looking into” the issue following concerns expressed over a number of years.
He made the pledge after Tory MP Robert Halfon (Harlow) called for a crackdown on the “highly priced” services.
Bedside phone and television services are provided in hospitals by third-party firms, with incoming calls charged as highly as 49p per minute and television costing as much as £7 per day.
During Commons question time, Mr Halfon said: “Will you review the problem of highly priced patient lines, and introduce competition so that patients in Harlow and elsewhere no longer pay extortionate prices to watch TV or make calls?”
Mr Burns acknowledged it was an issue “of concern to many people” as he promised to examine the situation.
He went on: “Whilst I can’t promise the outcome of any review, you do have my assurance that we will be looking into it and we do take on board the concerns that have been expressed over a number of years.”
The previous government urged NHS trusts to relax the rules on mobile phones to help combat the monopoly on bedside services.