To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the control of advertising by private sector clinics.
I am aware of the concern about certain advertising by some clinics. All those connected with the advertising of clinical services have a duty to ensure that people are not misled by false, doubtful or exaggerated claims. Doctors have a particular responsibility in this. I understand that the General Medical Council is considering how best to make it clear that doctors who have any kind of financial or professional relationship with a private clinic bear some responsibility for any advertising it undertakes. I welcome this. In addition my Department has recently agreed with the Advertising Standards Authority that it pays special attention to such advertising and acts against any that breaches the British code of advertising practice. We will also look at the possibility of legislation to control advertising by these clinics.