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SPARK® TSL Provides Free Christmas TV for Hospital Patients

6 minute read | 28/11/2023

SPARK® TSL Provides Free Christmas TV for Hospital Patients

Trusts and health boards with Bedside Units (previously Hospedia) will be able to give patients free access to the programmes they love on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day.

For the third consecutive year, SPARK® TSL is providing patients in hospitals the gift of free TV during the festive season. Previously, only Christmas Day was provided for free by Hospedia, until the acquisition took place. This offering is for patients who find themselves in the hospital during this time, providing them with a much-needed source of entertainment and comfort.

It’s not just TV over Christmas, but into the New Year too. Read more about this free offering and the specific dates and times.


What are the Free TV Dates and Times?

Around 100 Trusts that have the Bedside Units have already been notified about the dates and times for free TV during Christmas and New Year. Trusts are not required to take any action to provide patients with access to this free service. We kindly request Trusts to help spread the word, and SPARK® TSL will handle the rest.

Christmas tree

 All day: Christmas day & Boxing day 



New Year: 11pm on 31st Dec - Midnight on 1st Jan


SPARK® TSL will be covering the cost during these days, and patients don’t have to sign up and create an account to watch TV for free. 

Watch the videos below to find out how to access free entertainment on the T2 remote control Bedside Units and T3 touch screen Bedside Units.

Accessing Free Entertainment T2


Accessing Free Entertainment T3


Why is SPARK® TSL Providing Free TV?

SPARK® TSL first extended the gift of free TV during the holiday season as a response to the visitor restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for patients to pay for entertainment altogether. This initiative is a step towards fulfilling our mission of providing free entertainment to all patients. Discover more about our plans to make this vision a reality.

The impact of providing free TV to patients in hospitals cannot be underestimated. A 3-month trial conducted by University Hospitals North Midlands NHS Trust revealed an astounding 300% increase in TV usage when it was made available for free. This compelling evidence convinced the Trust of the significance of these legacy systems, leading them to fund free TV for patients throughout the year. These results serve as a reminder of the value that free entertainment can bring to patients in need.

With the festive season, we’re enabling patients to enjoy some of the special programmes that we all look forward to at Christmas and New Year, without having to worry about the cost of joining the celebrations.


Why is Free Entertainment Important?

Television serves as a powerful tool for relaxation, offering patients a source of solace and familiarity amidst the uncertainties of their medical journey. By providing free TV services, hospitals aim to elevate the overall patient experience, showcasing their dedication to the well-being and comfort of those in their care. This commitment fosters a more positive perception of the healthcare facility, creating an environment where patients feel valued and supported.

Hospital stays often involve extended periods of downtime, especially during the recovery process. Access to free TV not only serves as a source of diversion for patients but also plays a vital role in fostering a positive mindset, combating feelings of loneliness, and alleviating monotony. Enhancing patients' emotional and physical well-being, entertainment systems are instrumental in lifting spirits and providing a focal point during their time in a hospital bed. Offering free access to entertainment can positively influence morale, potentially leading to shorter hospital stays.


Why do Patients Have to Pay for Entertainment?

Over 20 years ago, Patientline invested £150,000,000 worth of infrastructure for the NHS. This equated to the installation of 56,500 bedside units across 160 hospitals. Making them the key supplier of bedside terminals to 75% of the UK's acute hospitals. Following the acquisition of Patientline by Hospedia, and subsequently, the acquisition of Hospedia by WiFi SPARK, both companies now provide services under the brand name SPARK® TSL.

The cost of TV goes towards the maintenance of the units which covers 24/7/365 support, health and safety checks, replacement of parts and the engineers that repair the units.

We would love to remove the patient pays model overnight, but if we did this with no alternative funding, hundreds of thousands of patients wouldn't have access to basic entertainment such as TV.


How to Make Patient Entertainment Free, the SPARK® Solution

There are three primary pathways for enhancing patient entertainment at no cost to the patient. Keep in mind that these systems not only provide entertainment but also offer customisable hospital resources for the Trust's benefit.

  1. Trust paid TV on existing legacy Bedside Units: Trusts and their charities can cover the cost of TV for patients. This solution can be deployed in Trusts now, for as little as £1 per bed per day and can start in just one ward.
  2. SPARK® Media Bring Your Own Device: This patient entertainment and engagement platform is available on patient and visitors own device. It provides easy access links to entertainment such as sudoku, live TV and the hospital radio. There are several versions of this platform, including SPARK® Media: Lite to get started, and add ons such as digital newspapers and magazines.

          SPARK® Media has always been free for end users.

  1. SPARK® Horizon, upgraded Bedside Units: These modern bedside units host the SPARK® Media software. Once again, everything is free for the end user and the cost is covered by Trusts and their charities. Patient entertainment is an investment to improve the patient experience. However, unlike the legacy Bedside Units, Horizon has the ability to produce tangible ROI through it’s ability to host apps such as e-prescribing, meal ordering, translation services and more.



SPARK® TSL is once again providing patients in hospitals with the gift of free TV during Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day. This offering not only brings much-needed entertainment and comfort to patients but also highlights the importance of free entertainment in enhancing the overall patient experience.

Our goal is to make free entertainment a reality for all patients which can be achieved in different ways. By spreading the word and utilising these solutions, we can continue to improve the well-being and comfort of patients in hospitals. So let's embrace this opportunity and make the festive season and beyond a time of joy and relaxation for all.

Get in touch with your account manager if your Trust would like to purchase any extra days around the free TV provision for patients. 

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