The Department of Health has banned no win no fee adverts, but some NHS trusts continue to allow them as a revenue generating measure. Some hospitals have received as much as £85,000 a year for allowing the adverts, while others receive donations of uniforms and equipment.
The health minister, Simon Burns, said he was going to write to the NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, demanding that hospital trusts follow the rules. He said people in hospitals should be focusing on recovering and should not be hounded by solicitors or adverts placed in Accident & Emergency departments.
Personal injury lawyers have promised that they will not sue hospitals displaying their advertisements. Instead they seek personal injury compensation from local authorities or businesses. Councils have already warned the government that public funds are being wasted on spurious personal injury claims.
Hospitals have been banned from accepting personal injury solicitors’ adverts since 2007, when they were classed alongside ads for alcohol and tobacco. However, hard up NHS trusts can easily be tempted by financial incentives.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has tabled an early day motion attacking the practice claiming it fuels the compensation culture in Britain. He explained that David Cameron talks about killing the health and safety monster and yet we carry on feeding it and unless that stops, it’s going to keep on getting bigger.