The Turners have said they are shocked that thousands of pounds is being paid out by the trust in charge of Bristol Children’s Hospital for a private PR company to manage enquires around its heart unit.

The University of Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust is forking out around £10,000 a month for PR company Grayling, despite having its own communications team.

Since the last week of February, the trust has paid £25,300 to use Grayling, which it confirmed is being employed to specifically manage enquiries around its pediatric cardiac services.

Families, including Warminster couple Yolanda and Steve Turner, believe their children died as a result of mishaps at the hospital while undergoing heart surgery, which has led to an independent review.

Mrs Turner said: “We were shocked as they have their own internal media communications team. They are spending all this money on an outside RP company when it could be spent on improving services.”

The trust has defended its decision, claiming the existing communications team was too small to be able to deal with the amount of enquires they were receiving.