Can an NHS organisation sell advertising space to generate income?

Yes. Budgetary pressures mean that extra revenue is welcome, if not required. NHS England is responsible for managing and developing the NHS Identity on behalf of the Department of Health. It recognises that “some NHS organisations sell advertising space to generate additional income” and offers guidance on how it should be conducted. Primarily, advertising “must not damage the good reputation of the NHS or the value of the NHS brand.”

NHS England guidelines

According to the NHS England website, “any advertising should:

  • be suitable for the target audience
  • meet public expectations of the NHS brand and support the principles and values underpinning the NHS Identity
  • not bring the NHS into disrepute
  • not give rise to doubts about the integrity, independence or impartiality of the NHS
  • follow applicable laws and industry codes of practice.”

Please see the UK law and Advertising Codes of Practice as set out by the Advertising Standards Authority.

CP Health Media understands, supports and applies these principles and values and will ensure that your trust is protected at all times.

NHS England prohibits the following categories from advertising: faith, religion and equivalent systems of belief, adult products and services, tobacco products, weapons and gun clubs, political or lobby group advertising, any advertisements that relate to a controversial health issue or public policy (e.g. foods with a high sugar content) and, recently added to the list, legal services.

We recommend that your trust compiles its own list of unacceptable advertising categories, which could include slimming aids, breast milk substitutes, gambling, etc. No business categories on NHS England’s prohibited list or on your own list will be allowed to advertise. Your trust will retain the right to refuse any business from advertising at any time and without penalty. Furthermore, all individual adverts must be approved by your trust.

Your trust could formalise the unacceptable advertiser category list within a policy for the effective management and control within the trust of Advertising and Sponsorship by External Organisations. This policy could provide a detailed explanation of the governance structure and arrangements in place to control the advertising process and suitability of advertising material.


“ Over the last few years, CP Media has proved to be an excellent partner for Harrogate Borough Council. The team at CP work hard to maintain high occupancy levels on our sites and are always keen to develop the portfolio and suggest new ways of generating revenue in a small district. We have a good working relationship with both the very professional back-office team and the sales consultants who are both responsive and generous with their time. I have recommended CP to others many times and would continue to do so. ”

SUE HIGGISON – Marketing Manager, Harrogate Borough Council

Let’s work together

If you would like to know more about how CP Health Media can help your trust achieve significant advertising income, then please contact us