Anger at personal injury claim advert on NHS-branded leaflets in Dudley hospital's A&E
A councillor is angry that a personal injury firm is advertising on NHS-branded leaflets in the A&E of a Black Country hospital.
The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust receives £12,000 a year from BOE Publishing for advertisements including one for ASYST on the back of a six-page card titled Welcome to the Emergency Department.
The personal injury lawyers advertise their work with the slogan 'there is no shame in making an honest claim'.
The leaflets are in the emergency department of Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital.
Reacting to the leaflets, Dudley Councillor Paul Brothwood said: "It's absolutely disgusting and highly inappropriate.
"The NHS is a public service, and this is not the sort of behaviour that should be going on in a hospital.
"If people want to seek legal advice then they are able to do that themselves, away from the hospital environment."
In response, the hospital trust explained that through their contract with BOE Publishing, they are supplied with information leaflets for their emergency department and also receive £12,000 a year.
The trust has highlighted that the money generated from this arrangement goes towards improving the experience of patients at the hospital, and in particular has been used to enhance a room for relatives in the emergency department.
However Councillor Brothwood said: "An extra £12,000 a year is not going to sort out their problems. Perhaps the management could take a pay cut instead." Outside Russells Hall Hospital patients expressed their surprise at the inclusion of the advert.
One male patient who preferred not to be named said: "You wouldn't expect that in the hospital information they give you. I am shocked."
The Trust's acting chief executive, Dr Paul Harrison, said: "The Trust has used a company to provide patient information leaflets in our emergency department for five years.
"We use this way of producing the leaflets to enable us to provide good quality patient information at no cost to the NHS or the taxpayer.
"In addition to a plentiful stock of valuable patient information leaflets we receive £12,000 per year.
"We use the money to improve patient experience, for example making improvements to the relative's room in the department."
The advert for the personal injury lawyers encourages patients to ring or text to get further details.
BOE Publishing are based in Blackpool and provide patient information to around 200 hospitals across the country.
In 2009 it was reported that BOE/ASYST were being represented by the Claims Standard Council in challenging the Welsh Health Minister's directive to ban all legal service advertising in hospitals.
It stated that it could cost the Welsh NHS trusts £1 million in compensation through breached contracts.
BOE Publishing were contacted about the Russells Hall Hospital personal injury leaflets but declined to comment.
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