I don't mind paying for things. Well, I do. But I really object to being fleeced when I've got no option to go elsewhere.

And having spent a portion of this week enduring the benign incarceration of a hospital bed, I've got a bone to pick with Patientline.

This isn't a new story (the BBC's Breakfast 'News' programme has covered it extensively), but it's the sort of thing that fails to truly annoy until it affects you personally. And I'm feeling narky.

When you're stuck in a hospital bed there's only one way you can access the internet, phone, email, radio and - God bless its time-passing glory - a TV. And that way is via the Patientline portal.

And trust me, when you're in hospital, you need access to 'Countdown'.

Now, the Patientline setup is itself pretty cool. You get your own bedside TV with a phone handset, more radio stations than just hospital radio (although I'm grateful for you playing my request guys) and a useable internet browser.

But it'll cost you, and you need a set of headphones. And, for that matter, the station list for both TV and radio is less than extensive.

Now, for a semi-solvent, tech-savvy media genius such as your author, this poses only minor irritation. I could (through gritted teeth) divvy up a fiver for 24 hours worth of access to this media bounty, I had headphones on my person and I was reasonably comfortable with the process of logging on and setting up. And I can live with the fact that you pay for all the features, and you pay by 24-hour chunk (my stay of 32 hours was less than cost effective, then).

Also, once Mrs Matt made one über expensive call to my new 'bedside phone', she could make sure my two friends (hi Mum) knew to call me on my mobile and save their mortgages.

But if you're elderly, impoverished or simply less than comfortable with technology, the already painful and stress-inducing hospital stay is going to be worse and more expensive than it needs to be. And there's no payphone or communal TV/web portal for those who don't want to - or can't - pay.

In fact, by including phone provision in the setup, Patientline and the hospitals are disproportionately charging those people who don't own mobile phones. Or, to put it another way, the elderly and the poor.

Hospital is no place to be when you're ill, but it's the only place to get treatment. So basic comforts such as a TV and a phone shouldn't be available only to those who can pay. Or is that pinko nonsense? Answers on my plaster cast.

(Incidentally, you'll have to forgive any cack-handed typos, as my good hand is currently immobilised following a losing battle with a cricket ball.)

My arm

My arm

Couldn't VoIP bring relief to hospital patients?