Feb 28 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
ORMSKIRK’S hospital trust has netted more than £88,000 by allowing an accident claims firm to advertise in its sites’ waiting rooms, it can be revealed.
The trust has an exclusive contract with Freeclaim, a no-win no-fee compensation specialist.
It allows the solicitors firm to display its leaflets – which include details of claims won, including £2.5m for a client who suffered brain damage in a motorbike accident – in the A&E departments and outpatient departments at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals.
Concerned Ormskirk resident Ian Yates, who complained to the hospital having seen the leaflets on display in August, said: “I was horrified. I understand money is important but its about principles.”
The trust responded to Mr Yates’ letter and confirmed the total money it had received to date was £88,200 (£74,000 excluding output VAT).
A spokesman for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said: “The contract began in August 2009 and advertising takes the form of wall posters and advertisements on patient information leaflets. The Trust will receive a fee from the firm of £50,000 in 2012-13.
“We do not receive commission from the firm and nor do we pass on patient information which would be illegal as well as unethical. “Our contract... does not allow it to bring cases against the trust. All money raised from advertising goes directly towards patients care.”
But Mr Yates said: “I’m sure it is leading to claims against other NHS services. It’s encouraging people to make claims and its disgusting.”
MP Rosie Cooper said: “I am totally against the practice of solicitors advertising in hospitals. I have publicly and privately objected to this kind of advertising in hospitals.
“I have raised my concerns with the chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority but ultimately this is a hospital board decision.”