MPs condemn hospital advertising plan

The Government is facing a rebellion by Labour MPs who oppose its plans to allow hospitals to advertise for patients.

Former ministers have condemned the move, saying it would be wrong to spend millions on advertising when many health trusts are cutting jobs to balance their books.

The Department of Health has urged trusts to draw up local marketing plans to promote their services as part of its plans to offer patients a choice of hospitals. Future funding will depend on their success in attracting patients.

Some trusts have already recruited market research companies and are expected to link up with agencies before launching campaigns.

Frank Dobson, the former health secretary, has led the criticism. He has tabled Commons questions on the issue in an attempt to find out how much is being spent on ads.

John Spellar, another former minister, said he was "disappointed" that hospitals could spend money on "glossy advertising". He added: "Money should be spent at the sharp end, not on bureaucracy."

Liam Byrne, the junior health minister, said: "A small amount of advertising is in the interests of both patients and hospitals. We are developing guidelines to ensure communications are honest, accurate and appropriate."

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off Campaign's relaunch than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).