Campaign for free TV in Yorkshire hospitals

Steve Rayne has launched a petition asking the government to force hospitals to stop charging patients to view the free-to-air TV channels.
Steve Rayne has launched a petition asking the government to force hospitals to stop charging patients to view the free-to-air TV channels.

A new petition is calling on the government to stop hospitals charging patients for access to television.

Steve Rayne, who lives in Castleford, visited a relative in hospital earlier this year, and said he had launched the petition after seeing patients staring blankly at walls.

He said: “You see people feeling too poorly to bother with a book or magazine article, but they can’t watch a bit of telly because of prohibitive costs.

“You never get to sleep in a hospital, whether it’s people coughing or alarms going off.

“You see people just sat staring at walls, especially the elderly patients.

“Some of them couldn’t work a phone or a tablet even if they wanted to.

“This is the only thing some people have to do.”

A spokesperson for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals said that children’s and news channels are free to access within ward areas, and other channels are accessible for £5 per 24 hour period.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals offer free access to channels one to five between 8am and 12pm. Outside of these hours, patients can purchase daily access for £7.90 or £19.90 for three days.

But Steve said it is unreasonable to charge patients for access to channels they could view for free at home.

He wants to see patients given free, unlimited access to Freeview channels.

There are more than 70 Freeview channels, including BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Dave.

Steve said: “It is unfair to charge anyone to watch free to air channels.

“You buy any TV off the shelf and you can get the Freeview channels, that’s all we’re asking for here.”

Visit www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/230466 to sign the petition or to find out more.