Lawyers face ban on A&E adverts
HOSPITALS are set to be banned from letting ambulance- chasing lawyers advertise on wards and in waiting rooms.
The Health Secretary will introduce fines for trusts that continue to allow law companies to distribute flyers on their premises.
Jeremy Hunt said he was becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ at how lawyers are ‘intimidating’ patients and families.
He also paid tribute to the Mail for exposing the ‘aggressive and opportunistic tactics’ used by these firms to win new business.
Earlier this year an investigation by this newspaper showed how trusts were routinely agreeing contracts with lawyers to advertise in waiting rooms and corridors.
One hospital in Dudley, West Midlands, is paid £12,000 by a firm to display flyers telling patients that there is ‘no shame in making an honest claim’.
The crackdown is part of a major blueprint for the NHS announced this week to save millions that could be invested in better care Last year the health service paid out an estimated £440million to personal injury lawyers as part of compensation claims for patients.
This could have funded 88,000 hip and knee replacements, 440,000 cataract operations or 15,000 nurses for a year.
The fines are to be imposed later this year after a review by NHS England, which runs the health service. any hospitals that allow lawyers to advertise on their premises will be in breach of their contract with the NHS.
They will initially be given a warning by the local health trust. If a hospital then fails to remove flyers, it will be fined.
The review will establish the size of the fines as well as how the rules will be policed.
Mr Hunt said: ‘I’m increasingly concerned that the presence of personal injury law firms in the NHS – some of whom are pursuing extremely aggressive and opportunistic tactics to win new business – is distracting for staff and intrusive for patients and families.
‘allowing these firms to advertise or base themselves in our hospitals goes against the spirit of what the NHS is all about.’
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘We want lawyers out of hospitals and doctors out of court.’