Health bosses in South Tyneside have shut down a fake Facebook page - branded with a Nazi swastika and designed to look like their own.
They acted after being alerted to its existence - and what appeared to be genuine posts made to it by patients and residents in the borough.
The page – titled ‘South Tyneside District Hospital’ – had been made to look like the genuine article, which carries almost identical wording.
Worryingly, it appeared to have duped several people into thinking it was officially sanctioned.
Several people had left messages on the site which indicated that they believed it to be genuine - despite a swastika featuring prominently on the page.
Regulators at the social media site were informed and promptly removed it from view under their community standards policy.
Managers at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, confirmed they had contacted Facebook administrators to get it taken down.
Liz Davies, the trust’s head of communications, said: “This was an unofficial Facebook page and not affiliated with or endorsed in any way by anyone associated with South Tyneside District Hospital.
“As soon as we were made aware of the page we contacted Facebook who have since removed the page as it violated their community standards.
“As a Trust, we welcome all feedback about our services so that we can share this with our teams and continuously learn about where we can improve the quality of our services.”
The trust has come under recent fire for a series of planned changes at the hospital, including those around its Path to Excellence proposal.
Campaigners fear stroke treatment and women’s and children’s healthcare will be downgraded and moved to Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Last week, protestors also hit out at the temporary suspension of births at the hospital, which bosses blamed on a shortage of trained staff at the special baby unit.
The turmoil has led South Shields’ Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck to call for an independent review.
It is not known if the Facebook page was set up in response to proposed changes.
A link on the page confirmed it was unofficial because “people on Facebook have shown interest in this place or business”.
It added: “It’s not affiliated with or endorsed by anyone associated with South Tyneside District Hospital.”
The trust said the hospital’s official social media feedback channels could be found at www.facebook.com/STNHSFT or at Twitter @STFTrust.