Messy Business

Going forward, going forward we’re going to monitor prices … but not apologise

Big Business is what it is. Big and determined to make money.

Morals? Nah, they don’t get in the way. Just check the headlines about VW and diesel emissions this week if you don’t believe me.

Retailer WH Smith has said it will now cut the cost of some items sold in hospital outlets after it was shown to be charging less on the high street.

People were paying 89p more for a 750ml bottle of water and £1.50 more for an A4 refill pad at one hospital in Wakefield than at a store in Leeds.

Why? Because when you’re in hospital, there’s little retail choice, people have more important things on their mind, and they’re easy to ‘exploit’.

Sorry, did I say that out loud. The official answer – after MP Paula Sherriff got on their case – is of course very different: “We had a productive meeting with Paula Sherriff MP and demonstrated to her that the vast majority of our products are the same price in both our hospital and high street stores.

“Going forward, we will ensure that our High Street stationery promotions are always available in our hospital stores and we will continue to monitor average selling prices across all ranges to ensure they remain aligned.”

In August, Marks and Spencer were also found to be charging hospital and high street shoppers differently.

Did you spot the apology in that, no neither did I. And they wonder why so many of us fear creeping privatisation in the NHS….

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