Free wi-fi is on its way soon for hospital patients across Scotland

By Lizzie Healey


Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is looking into the cost of providing bedside televisions for patients in hospital.

The position at present, she told Edward Mountain, the MSP for Highlands and Islands, is that across NHS Scotland, patient entertainment services are provided either free in house or through Hospedia’s bedside entertainment services.

These are purchased by patients voluntarily and are in addition to communal telephones and televisions, Ms Freeman, pictured right, said.

But Mr Mountain said: “At £9.90 a day in NHS Highland, it is extremely expensive to watch television. NHS Highland entered a 15-year contract that is due to expire in June 2019.

“Will the cabinet secretary give me an undertaking that she will work with NHS Highland to ensure that patient television is more affordable, to allow patients to watch television during their stay in hospital, which in some cases may be for a long period?”

Ms Freeman said: “We recognise that television provides respite to many patients; we also recognise the importance of technology in enabling patients to remain connected.

“We are working with national health service directors of estates to establish the feasibility of free bedside entertainment, to be supplied via wi-fi, across NHS Scotland.

“NHS Lothian is currently trialling free patient wi-fi services, including access to video streaming. If that is successful, we would hope to extend it to other NHS boards [including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde].”

She added: “I am happy to give Mr Mountain that undertaking. He is right that NHS Highland’s current contract expires in June.

“I expect all boards, on the expiration of any Hospedia contracts that they may have, to consider not only best value but the right patient-centred approach.”

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