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Trusts to advertise services to public

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Hospital trusts will be allowed to advertise their services for the first time, as the government rolls out the next phase of its patient choice programme.

From April, all patients will be able to choose any hospital in the country for non-emergency treatment.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said hospitals and independent sector treatment centres would be allowed to advertise themselves to the public to encourage patients to choose a hospital.

NHS organisations will be subject to a code of conduct governing the content of their advertising, which will be regulated by PCTs and the Advertising Standards Authority.

But Unison’s head of health Karen Jennings said: ‘Hospitals need to concentrate on taking care of patients, not wasting time and precious money on their next campaign.’

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