The Conservative cabinet minister's face appears on bedside entertainment systems on a continuous loop saying that their care "really matters to me" and asking them to thank NHS staff.
If they want to turn him off, they have to register under a system which sees patients charged more than £5 a day to access TV, email and phone services.
I can only applaud. £5 per day to avoid his smirking contempt is a bargain, despite it being extortionate. It comes to £1825 per year, a mere £1679.50 more expensive than the licence fee and £1393 cheaper than the basic Sky package.
Still, when someone's weakened through illness, that's the best time to mug them. It horrifies me that hospitals are now seen as retail opportunities for a captive audience. I read recently that a hospital down south has a Marks and Spencer Food outlet. That really highlights the north/south divide: my local infirmary has a Greggs bakery, retailing bacon sandwiches, pasties and other assorted unhealthy products to the cardiac patients, morbidly obese and others. Local phone calls cost patients more than calling Australia from home: and it's old people on reduced incomes who spend most time in hospital. So much for joined-up health…
Sadly, the monitors don't play this Andrew Lansley song:
PS. I'm only joking about these charges making money for the NHS: it all goes to private companies like Hospedia.