NHS bosses have come under fire for allowing donations to the county’s major hospitals to be spent on retirement presents and parties for staff.

Peter Pinfield, chairman of Healthwatch Worcestershire, said the practice was wrong and welcomed the news that it was ending.

Over the last four years, at least £35,000 has been spent on presents and parties for long-serving hospital employees that were leaving their jobs, according to the BBC.

Mr Pinfield said: “People are quite concerned that charity money can be used in that way. It’s allowed, but it’s whether it’s morally right.

“The money has also been spent on gifts. I don’t think the public would be very supportive of using charitable money in that way.”

Mr Pinfield said many people bequeath money to the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Charity in their wills.

The trust has a charitable funds committee which meets twice a year to make sure the donations from patients and others are managed and spent in the best way.

The committee decided it was wrong to use charitable funds on retirement gifts at a meeting on December 4.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, added: "It is important for us to recognise the valuable contribution made to patient care by all our staff, and particularly those who have given many years of dedicated service to the NHS.

"As a public body we also have a duty to ensure that the funding we receive directly, and the generous donations we receive from patients, carers and supporters, is spent wisely.

"As part of that we were asked by our charitable funds committee to review the contributions made towards retirement gifts for staff. The fund will cease to pay retirement gifts when the current policy expires at the end of March.”