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West Suffolk Hospital patients left without bedside TVs for more than six weeks as service suspended without notice

West Suffolk Hospital inpatients have been left without bedside entertainment for more than six weeks, after the service was suspended by its operator without notice.

The situation means patients without smartphones or tablets – or those unable to use them – are effectively cut off from the world, according to one relative.

Stuart Whiting, who has a family member at the hospital, encountered a 'system shutdown' sign dated July 24 when he went to purchase a card to pay for the bedside television service.

West Suffolk Hospital Bury St EdmundsPicture Mark Westley (16118096)
West Suffolk Hospital Bury St EdmundsPicture Mark Westley (16118096)

The sign added the service would be 'under new management shortly'.

"The date on the signs means those televisions have not been in use for weeks," he said.

"When I spoke to one of the nurses about it she said most people used tablets and phones these days, but that's not always the case if you're elderly.

"The ward my family member is on has no interest. You're sat there counting the tiles, but at least if you have the television it gives you something to do.

"It's not doing much for your mental wellbeing if you're staring into space."

Stuart said he was told the company which operated the bedside television system had gone out of business.

"But you would have thought the hospital would have said 'okay, our IT department could pick it up and run it until a new provider is in place'," he added.

West Suffolk Hospital's website says inpatients will be able to listen to radio stations and watch television and films on the 'bedside entertainment systems'.

This week, a West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman confirmed patient access to the bedside televisions was currently unavailable and apologised for the disruption.

"We are disappointed by the sudden removal of this service and we are taking steps to resolve this issue as best we can," she said.

“We were given very short notice by the service provider that they were no longer able to deliver it due to going into liquidation.

"We appreciate this situation is not ideal, however, regrettably it is currently out of our control and we are waiting for the official legal process to conclude.

“We have been working hard to upgrade WiFi across the West Suffolk Hospital site and patients who have them can access content on mobile and tablet devices."

The spokeswoman added that communal televisions were provided on many of the hospital's wards.

Premier Bedside, also known as Premier Telesolutions, had operated the service prior to its suspension.

Any patient who has unused credit for the television service is advised to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01284 712555 or email PALS@wsh.nhs.uk

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