Bosses at Doncaster's hospitals are hoping to boost their income - with a formal hospital charity.
Called Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Charity, it will cover all three of the trust's sites in Doncaster, Worksop and Mexborough and pay for items which go above and beyond what the NHS pays for.
The formal charity is also expected to allow the hospital more control of how charitable donations are distributed around the hospitals, to ensure they go to areas of the sites thought to have the greatest needs.
Decisions over where money will be allocated will be made by a newly set-up charitable funds committee, which will be chaired by an NHS accountant, Kath Smart.
The new charity will have its own logo, which will be three heart shaped balloons, to represent the three hospitals run by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust. It will have its own branding which the hospital believes will make it easier for people to raise money in their name..
Officials believe that by creating the brand, they will be able to give support to fundraisers by raising the profile of people's fundraising activities, because the hospitals own marketing staff will promote the events.
Chairman of the trust's board of governors, Suzy Brain England, said the charity would be used to provide funding for items that are above and beyond what is usually provided by the NHS.
That may include items of clinical equipment that would be trialled to see if they should be paid for by the main NHS funding, such as a FilmArray which is being used to try to detect meningitis at an early stage. It would also be used to pay for things like furniture, television sets and decoration.
But specific projects that the charity will look to fund have yet to be decided.
Ms Brain England said: "We will help the people doing the fundraising, and provide them with support packs, They will have the ID of the hospital linked to what they're doing.
"There are often people who want to do something for the hospital as a thank-you for treatment they received, and they will not have to feel they're doing it on their own.
"We will be able to help them, potentially helping them get more sponsors.
"We will be able to create a profile of the things that the hospital needs. For instance, at Christmas, we are often inundated with children's toys, but the average stay in hospital for a child is only a day and a half these days. If we have funds given instead off gifts, we could get things for the ward like a children's entertainer or a television for them.
"There is a lot of value in managing charitable funds through a committee. There are certain fashionable things which get a lot of help, like premature babies. There are less glamorous areas like cardiology and other specialisations that have a lot of need."
"We think that this could mean that a small fundraising idea could have a bigger impact. I think a natural result would be an increase in income. If the fundraising has a higher profile it could raise more money.
"We know most NHS institutions we know of are not getting the funds we would like them to get. The focus of the charity funds will not be to pay for care - that is the NHS' responsibilty and that Government pays for that. It is for the nice things like comfy seats, televisions that we would not otherwise get, as well as some trials for innovative schemes."
The charity officially launched on Tuesday May 8, when its websites went live. Log onto www.dbth.nhs.uk/charity/ for the details.
The trust already accepts charitable donations and has traditionally had a charity bank account, but this is the first time it has had a formal identity. Common fundraisers in the past have included bake sales, sponsored runs, sponsored sky-dive and gala nights.
Mrs Brain England added: "By launching DBTH Charity, the Trust is hoping to make it easy for everyone to raise funds for Bassetlaw Hospital, Doncaster Royal Infirmary or Montagu Hospital. We are keen to hear about fundraising ideas for the future which in the past have included:
“All charitable donations to our hospitals are invested and used to enhance patient care, as well as other innovative developments, which are not funded by usual NHS income. By donating and fundraising for our hospitals, individuals can help make our patients’ hospital experience that little bit more comfortable.”