Last month we criticised Patientline for increasing the costs of its calls from hospital beds by 160%. Now the company is under fire again, according to a BBC investigation.
Former employees have told of how a sales-driven culture meant that they needed to approach every patient, no matter how ill they were, to hit sales targets.
One unnamed former employee said “It reminded me of a cold calling job. Going from door to door, except with this it was going from patient to patient. It did not matter how ill they looked.”
A spokeswoman for Patientline said in response: “Patientline does not encourage hard-selling and our advisors are merely there to provide information and support to patients.”
“We are not impressed by what we have seen in this report - preying on those who are most vulnerable is shameful. However we feel that this is not simply an issue for Patientline. We have seen at first hand hard sell tactics from other organisations in hospitals - we found selling professional baby photos to new Mums in the hours after birth especially distasteful and we have to ask why some NHS Trusts allow this to happen.
We would encourage NHS Trusts to make it clear that such tactics are unacceptable, and make it easier for patients to let them know when they feel they are being exploited.”