The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has defended placing adverts for compensation claims in hospitals.
The government has issued guidance to NHS trusts saying personal injury lawyer adverts “should not be supported” and are “unwelcome” in A&E departments and hospital wards.
According to a Sky News investigation, some hospitals are paid up to £112,000 a year in return for allowing advertising, and some get information leaflets printed for free with adverts on the back.
Lawyers who advertise in hospitals are not doing anything illegal and some of the long-term contracts were signed before government guidance was issued.
Deborah Evans, chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, has defended the practice.
She said: “If you’ve been injured the chances are high that you are going to go to a hospital. So actually law firms advertising in hospitals are reaching out to the very people who need them the most.
“As long as the advertisements are informative and educational and offer advice and assistance and support, then that is exactly the place they should be.”
Last year, health minister Simon Burns told MPs: “It is not acceptable for that sort of advertising in NHS hospitals. I would hope that any trusts behaving in that way immediately review their procedures.”
The investigation alleged some contracts include clauses which do not allow the legal firms to take action against the hospital carrying the adverts.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers said it was unaware of contracts with these clauses.