WH Smith blasted for charging £7.99 for toothpaste in hospital - and you buy it for 80p elsewhere

WH Smith has been criticised for selling toothpaste for £7.99 in one of its hospital shops.

The same single tube of Colgate is 898% cheaper in Tesco, costing just 80p, and it's also on sale in Boots for £1.

Critics have accused the company of cashing in on the sick by hiking up prices at the shop in Pinderfields General Hospital in Wakefield.

However bosses have said it was a printing error and it should actually only cost £2.49 - which is still a lot more expensive than it costs elsewhere.

In total 89 tubes were sold at the incorrect price before staff noticed the error.

Marc Leaf, 45, noticed the shocking price tag while trying to buy toothpaste for his girlfriend who is being treated at the hospital.

He said: "Everything in there is totally ridiculous.

"A hospital is a place where people to to get better. They aren't at their best and are usually at their most vulnerable.

"It's the last place they should be taken advantage of, but this price tag is just totally taking the mick out of people.

"It's £7.99 for a tube of toothpaste that I've seen for a £1 in a Home Bargains store or a pound shop."

It comes despite the company promising to slash prices in hospital shops in 2015 after MPs called them out on the different price tags compared to its own high street shops.

Marc said: "When I was there, I looked around, and there are a lot of people knocking about who are less fortunate than others.

"It's absolutely outrageous. I went to the counter and asked the assistant 'is this right?' and they said it was.

"I was gobsmacked. It's extortion. They are cashing in on sick people who can't go elsewhere.

"Something needs to be done about it.

"In the end I went for the tiny little travel size one and it was £2.69. That's still ridiculous."

WH Smith has 610 shops on the high street and 839 'travel outlets' - shops in airports, railway stations, motorway service areas, hospitals and workplaces.

Of these, 129 are in hospitals.

A spokesman for WH Smith said: "We would like to apologise to our customers for a recent pricing error in our system relating to this product.

"While the wrong price was effective we sold a total of 89 units.

"The total proceeds from these sales (£711) will be donated to charity. The error has been rectified and changed to the correct price of £2.49."

The company said all of the products they sell in their hospital stores are the same price as in their the high street branches.

The price at the hospital in Wakefield was highlighted on Twitter by a reporter at the Health Service Journal.

Responding to the tweet, one person said: "They've been warned just a couple years ago for price gouging. If that isn't an accidental mistake then they need fined."

Another added: "Please tell me this isn't true.

"Absolutely horrible to think the cost of a product vital to oral health is spiked because someone is unwell in a hospital.

"This should be provided on wards regardless."

One wrote: "I assume that buys you a check up and polish too for that money."

Last month it was reported the retailer recorded a 1% fall in pre-tax profit to £82m for the six months ended 28 February, while total group revenue was flat at £643m.

The retailer - a UK franchise partner of M&S - also reported a successful trial of two WH Smith hospital stores offering an M&S food-to-go range.

A spokesperson at the time announced plans to open six new hospital stores, including four M&S Simply Food stores in the second half of the current financial year.

Mirror Online has contacted WH Smith for a comment.

Read more news of London on our site.

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