TVs at Southend University Hospital

From a chance conversation I made inquiries earlier this year about television sets at Southend Hospital.

This is what I was told: In regards to the TV’s out of 734 beds we would expect to have a bedside TV, there are 462 Sets plus 12 in day rooms. The contract with the supplier is a national one but old and I have asked the Director of Estates and Development to draft some options as to what we can do as well as afford.

I received this response last month (from the Chief Executive of the Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) and can be taken as still correct as I write this post; I have asked that I be updated when the situation improves, and thus far I have had no update.

These numbers mean that less than two-thirds of beds (63%) have TVs. Whilst some patients will not want or be able to watch television, this clearly is not a choice for over a third of patients. The Trust must share my concerns as they are looking at “options”.

It is thirty-four years since I had a stay in hospital (four days following a patellectomy) but I recall long days with little to do. TV at least allows the time to pass a little more quickly.

This situation is not good. Since everyone values their health as the highest priority, and being comfortable and contented aid recovery, the lack of televisions is, in my opinion, deleterious to good health.

I do not know whether this situation has come about since the Government embarked on its privatisation agenda for the NHS. I hope that this situation soon improves, and I hope to be told that steps have been identified to make this so.

On a further note, I am also told that some TVs do not have headphones that work, meaning that you can watch but not listen. I am also told that there are whole wards without TV sets, and that those who purchase television pay  cards and who are then moved to a ward with no TVs are not being given refunds.

I think you could descibe the situation as a right mess.


8 Responses to TVs at Southend University Hospital

  1. Kara says:

    Does this include paediatric beds in the numbers? A few years back the children’s ward had tvs donated for the individual rooms (15 I think) but did not have individual sets in the bays, at the time ( this may well now be out of date) I was told this was as they did not want the pay tv on the ward but there was no facility to have the bay individual tvs without that contract. Also neonates doesn’t have tvs other than the parents rooms so a further 18 approx beds to account for.

  2. Kara: The honest answer is that I do not know. I can only assume that the numbers I was given are correct.

  3. neilmonnery says:

    Julian – There is plenty going on here that either you don’t know or have omitted from the blog. Alas I can’t share it in a public forum because I know in confidence but lets put it this way – it has not come about due to anything that has happened under this government. The company who oversee the TVs signed the contract in 2005 IIRC and the terms have not changed since.

    I can’t give full details due to the nature of the situation but I wouldn’t expect progress on this matter for a while.

    As for headphones. Any regular pair of headphones will work and those who don’t have a working pair of headphones should be able to get a pair from Premier’s office in the daytime or from Southend Hospital Radio in the evenings.

  4. neilmonnery: I can assure you that I know nothing beyond what I have written here. You should write about what you know and can share.

  5. neilmonnery says:

    I can’t write much because of legal reasons and nor can anyone in the know. The Trust can’t say a thing and nor can Premier until the legal reasons are lifted. There is an excellent story out there – and one replicated in several hospitals across the country – but for now we can only wait for the legal situation to be resolved.

  6. It certainly sounds intriguing.

  7. Mike Royston says:

    i posted a reply the other day, but it didn’t seem to register on this blog. So, I’m posting again…
    This issue is extremely close to my heart as the bedside TV sets referred to also provide free listening access to free radio stations, including Southend Hospital Radio. I have been a member of Southend Hospital Radio for many years, and I know from when I visit Southend Hospital wards prior to presenting a request show, how many radios do not work, or have been removed and not replaced. A lot of voluntary work goes into providing our free radio service, and we see how it cheers up patients. It is so sad to see so many radios not available.
    When I was recently a patients in Southend Hosital, I was lucky to have a bed with a bedside radio, and listening to Southend Hospital was very uplifting. I also enjoyed listening to the all-night music that the Southend Hospital Radio studios broadcast when the station ‘closes down’ for the night. I found the soft glow emitted from the bedside set comforting too.
    On the second occasion when I was recently a patient, I had no bedside set, and although I had my iPod and personal radio, I did miss having a bedside radio, and being able to listen to the local hospital radio service.
    I hope, whatever the reason, that the bedside TV/radio set provision will improve soon.

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