Private firms will be encouraged to work with NHS hospitals in the UK on sponsorship deals under new plans.
A new code on promoting patient choice in the NHS sets out how hospitals will be able to compete for business via advertising and sponsorship.
It comes as patients in England get more choice from 1 April over where to have their non-emergency surgery.
They will be able to choose from any provider in England that offers services using NHS money.
These include private hospitals commissioned to provide NHS services, such as hip replacements.
The Code of Practice for the Promotion of NHS-Funded Services unveiled by Health minister Ben Bradshaw sets out how all providers will be able to compete.
The code permits sponsorship deals as long as both the deal, and the firms associated with it, are not linked to matters “that are damaging to health or associated with gambling, alcohol, tobacco, weight control or politics”.
It also bans any kind of direct “product placement” such as within a film or programme.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said it was possible for firms to sponsor both buildings, such as patient wards, as well as programmes and activities, such as a “get fit” club.
However, she said the code rules out firms being able to gain “commercial advantage” from the sponsorship deal.
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“Excellent: we can all have our treatment in a private hospital.
The code permits sponsorship deals as long as both the deal and the firms associated with it are:
1. Not linked to politics: please tell me which organisation does not practice politics?
2. Not linked to weight control: all private hospitals including those of the NHS conduct cosmetic surgery in relation to weight control!
Now, which private hospital will qualify to get this contract?” – Augustina Fashola, Director, 2DMark&Trace Ltd, Luton, UK
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