Lansley bedside message to patients
Published 22/11/2011 | 08:22
Hospital patients are being forced to endure a welcome message from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley projected into wards on a continuous loop.
The Cabinet minister's face appears on bedside entertainment systems saying that their care "really matters to me" and asking them to thank NHS staff.
The screens are a feature across about half of the NHS, according to The Independent, and the only way to turn Mr Lansley's message off is to register. Patients are charged about £5 a day to access television, email and email services via the monitors.
Mr Lansley's message, which replaces one made by his Labour predecessor Andy Burnham, goes: "Hello, I'm Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary.
"I just want to take a few moments to say that your care while you're here in hospital really matters to me. I hope it's as good quality care as we can possibly make it and I do hope you'll join me in thanking all the staff who are looking after you while you're here."
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, the Health Secretary insisted it was "a useful message". He said patients could turn him off, although they did have to register to do so.
"When people go into hospital, I hope one of the first things they realise is we want them to have as comfortable and as high quality a stay as possible.
"I want them to help join me in thanking the NHS staff and I particularly wanted to say if they had any feedback that would be really helpful," he said. "It can be even worse - one constituent told me their baby's first experience of life was to see me on a monitor, which he found rather unnerving. He wasn't sure about the baby."
Geoff Martin, chairman of campaign group Health Emergency, said: "The last thing anyone recovering from surgery or illness needs is the health secretary on a permanent loop like some pro-privatisation big brother.
"Perhaps this is some cynical government ruse to speed up discharge of patients by driving people out of the wards as they try and escape the permanent misery of an Andrew Lansley TV message."