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NHS: Telecommunications

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the contingency arrangements NHS trusts have made in the event that the supplier of their telecommunications infrastructure for patients is unable to fulfil its contractual obligations. (210378)

The Department is not party to the contracts made with any of the companies that provide the bedside telephone service to patients and it has not made an assessment of the contingency arrangements national health service trusts have in place, should their service provider be unable to fulfil its contractual obligations.

It is the responsibility of the NHS trust to consider contingency arrangements, should it wish to continue to provide this service to its patients.

The bedside telephone is an additional service to that which existed in the past so alternatives already exist in hospitals. It is still possible for relatives and friends to contact a hospital via its main switchboard, and then be transferred to the nurses’ station on a ward to inquire about their relative’s health, as they have always been able to do in the past.

Mobile phone usage is allowed in specified areas of the hospital and payphones also exist as an alternative for patients.