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Free TV for all hospital patients in the Comunidad Valenciana
TELEVISION in public hospitals throughout the eastern region of the Comunidad Valenciana will soon be free of charge for patients – and the government opposition wants to extend this to Wi-Fi coverage.
Until now, patients had to buy cards from hospital receptions to use in the public telephones and TVs on the wards, and keep replacing them when they ran out of credit.
The estimated cost is around €4 a day and, with the average hospital stay being six days, patients admitted spend around €24 on watching TV.
For those unable to read due to problems holding a book and turning pages, the TV is their only entertainment – especially as Wi-Fi is not normally available or, if it is, comes at a charge.
Television services in the region's hospitals, as in other parts of Spain, are provided by franchises, and the cost of the cards purchased to access these go straight to the private-sector firms in question, rather than to the health service.
But Valencia regional health minister Ana Barceló says her cabinet aims to 'humanise' hospitals and health centres, and part of this new patient focus will mean her department's budget funding TV and – possibly – internet for anyone admitted.
The opposition PP party says it is pleased to hear TV will now become free in public hospitals, but wants to include internet on wards, too.
Although some have criticised the regional government's intention of spending €1.2 million on TV services rather than investing it in actual healthcare and research, Sra Barceló recalls that patient's mental wellbeing is as important as their physical health, and having entertainment services to make their hospital stay less of an ordeal lends itself to this.
TV services will be free of charge in hospitals in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón from February 2019.
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