Adverts in A&E boost funds for Conquest

THE Conquest has been making thousands of pounds a year by letting injury claim lawyers advertise in its A&E.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT), which also runs the DGH in Eastbourne, admitted being paid around £10,000 a year by claim management companies and so-called ambulance chasing law firms.

As part of the deal adverts are put in and around emergency wards at the hospitals, sometimes on appointment cards and health advice packs – despite the Government being adamant such practices are inappropriate.

Management at ESHT are coming under increasing pressure to address the trust’s finances, with millions of pounds in savings needing to be earmarked by the end of the year. However, despite the cash boost provided by the controversial claim advertising, the trust has decided to phase them out as and when existing contracts come to an end – pre-empting a possible UK-wide ban.

A spokesman for the Conquest said: “The trust has received approximately £10,000 per annum for allowing advertising by personal injury lawyers and claims management companies in our emergency departments but these contracts are in the process of being terminated.”

Some advertisers though are warning that a ban could cause further financial pressures for the trust. Businesses say the move would also conflict with a 2006 law which says companies can operate within NHS trusts as long as they have the approval of the site’s management.