An NHS hospital has become the first in Britain to sell one of its products commercially in a new money-making operation.
Salisbury District Hospital developed its own moisturiser cream for patients recovering from skin grafts and burns.
They have used the sunflower oil-based product for 24 years and it has proved so popular with patients they have decided to sell it to the wider public.
The lotion is being called ‘My Trusty Little Sunflower Cream’, with individual tubes costing £6.99 and all profits will be reinvested back into patient care.
An initial 20,000 tubes have been manufactured and the cream is available through the hospital’s website.
Malcolm Cassells, finance director for the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said they had already invested several tens of thousands of pounds in the product.
He said: “I would be disappointed if we hadn’t recuperated our costs within the next couple of months.
“We’ve invested in PR and marketing advisers to take us through the process as well as manufacturing quite a large number of tubes ready for the launch.”
He added: “We don’t claim clinical properties for this cream, we claim it only as a moisturiser but we know this product is really good.
“It has been popular with patients ever since we invented it and many have asked to have it available for purchase after their discharge.”
The hospital said the cream, which contains 5% sunflower oil, was an alternative to expensive beauty creams and had not been tested on animals.
A hospital spokeswoman said: “We just thought the time was right.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said the cream was the first commercial venture by an NHS hospital as far as they were aware.