The Central Office of Information has appointed Grey Advertising to handle a national campaign aimed at relieving the strain on health services during Christmas and the millennium festivities.
Worth about £1m, it is expected to encourage people to use NHS direct – a telephone advisory service – rather than seek an appointment for less serious ailments.
The campaign, to break this winter, aims to alleviate the increasing pressure on hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments and GPs’ surgeries by encouraging people to be more discerning about when to visit them.
Fewer part-time staff and increased drunkenness during the millennium celebrations will probably cause further problems for A&E departments.
Grey’s work is also expected to focus on encouraging people to stock up on medicines.
The agency pitched against Delaney Fletcher Bozell and Young & Rubicam after the COI called a review for the business earlier this month.