Published: 11/07/2002, Volume II2, No.5813 Page 8

More than half of hospitals are filling wards with 'muzak' if the findings of a snapshot survey by pressure groups Pipedown and the UK Noise Association are reflected nationwide.

The survey of 12 NHS and private hospitals recorded that seven of the hospitals piped music to wards, waiting or treatment areas.

Pipedown - which campaigns for 'freedom against piped music' - said surveys in 1998 had shown that 34 per cent of the population hated piped music. This figure was higher among older people.

One patient from Western General Hospital in Edinburgh told researchers: 'Chemotherapy is bad enough without the bloodboiling irritation of muzak!'

Other NHS sites singled out for criticism included Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital, where 'music from entertainment units beside each beds overflows into wards'.

Royal Brompton Hospital, Salisbury District Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital and Northampton General Hospital were found to be completely or predominantly muzak free.

Pipedown secretary Nigel Rodgers said: 'Piped music is often irritating because it is inescapable, seeping into every corner of an hotel, restaurant or pub. But at least you can choose to leave a restaurant or a pub.'

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