DoH scraps multi-million pound NHS Choices pitch

The Department of Health (DoH) has scrapped a multi-million pound pitch for an above-the-line campaign to promote awareness of the NHS Choices website, as it launches a major overhaul of its online activities.

The DoH had shortlisted CHI & Partners, DDB London and Farm for the NHS Choices programme, which allows patients to choose which hospital they receive treatment at. A spokesman for NHS Choices has confirmed that the “pitch is not going ahead” because it is taking over a majority of NHS Direct’s online activities.

The three agencies had been briefed to develop an integrated creative campaign to communicate the NHS Choices across the country and using a variety of media channels.

Launched in June last year, NHS Choices is being revamped to become the sole online destination for members of the public wanting to learn more about NHS services and health information. It is not clear what the move will mean for Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, which currently handles advertising for NHS Direct.

The Government’s development of NHS Choices was heralded as a means of “engaging people in NHS services.” As part of the NHS Choices service, members of the public can already provide feedback on NHS services and GPs can also provide feedback.

The move comes days after the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson used the 60th anniversary of the NHS to unveil a year-long review of the health service. The review was carried out by junior health minister Lord Darzi.

As part of the review, NHS Choices will be expanded to include more comparative information about the range of services offered and the performance of GP practices.

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