My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
As recommended by Ofcom in its report1 of January 2006, the department set up a patient power review group (PPRG) in February 2006 to explore whether communication services could be offered to hospital patients without charging as high a price for incoming calls. The PPRG has been considering:
all aspects of the charging structure;
the requirement to install, with limited clinical exceptions, units at every bedside within a hospital site, irrespective of use;
the requirement to offer services through a combined unit, offering television and telephone and capable of offering added value services; and
the need to clarify guidance on use of mobile phones in hospitals.
Further work is needed to provide a considered response to the recommendations made in the Health Select Committee’s report on NHS charges published on 18 July. A final report will be published by December 2006.
1 Ofcom own-initiative investigation into the price of making telephone calls to hospital patients.