Patientline criticised25th May 2007
Patientline, a firm which provides telephone and television services to 75,000 hospital patients, has been blamed for putting pressure on "vulnerable" people.
Former employees of the company, who are contracted by 160 NHS trusts, have said the sales-based culture made them target ill patients in order to convince them to buy services.
Company documents reveal that Patientline recently changed their company strategy and were urging staff to sell more in order to boost revenue. Documents emphasised the "need to create a sales-drive culture". In April, the company faced criticism when they increased call costs by 160%.
Former employees told a BBC Breakfast News investigation that the company policy had changed in favour of ensuring high sales figures were reached.
Peter Troy, who worked for Patientline for 18 months, said, in his view, the company's culture had changed and was headed towards "high pressure sales."
"To obtain the performance figures that they expected then by definition you were having to approach everybody."
Another former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that the position was like a door-to-door "cold calling job"where patients were approached regardless of how ill they appeared.
Margaret Toase, a Unison spokeswoman, said: "I think it is absolutely appalling."
A spokeswoman for Patientline stated: "Patientline does not encourage hard-selling and our advisors are merely there to provide information and support to patients." The company told the BBC they informed staff about the "sensitive nature" of the job.
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Title: Patientline criticised
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 2959
Date Added: 25th May 2007