Banned ad for “patient safety”?

The online news blog ‘Get West London’ reported the Advertising Standards Authority adjudication condemning as misleading the Brent CCG advertisement and website posting that A&E is only for life threatening emergencies. They included an response from an anonymous source for Brent CCG suggesting that the advertisement had been intended to promote patient safety, and commenting dismissively that there had only been one complaint out of almost a million patients.

It is remarkable that the response from the anonymous spin doctor on behalf of Brent CCG shies away from saying that it accepts the adjudication of the Advertising Standards Authority that Brent CCG however unintentionally were misleading their patients about A&E services, still less from offering their patients an apology. This is also the case in the various other media reports of the story. By contrast the Worcestershire CCG, which had promoted a similar ad, apologised and immediately removed it.

Despite repeated requests Brent CCG have still not identified the ‘clinicians’ who it was claimed had ‘signed off’ the wording of the advertisement.

Even in describing the complaint this spokesman for Brent CCG is inaccurate and misleading. The population of Brent (from Brent CCG’s own website) is estimated to be 325,000 not one million. It is literally true that there was only the one complaint to ASA from Brent Patient Voice, but disingenuous for the spin doctor to minimise this as one complaint. The complaint from Brent Patient Voice spoke for all its members. Not a single BPV member who contacted us supported the campaign. Separately 3 chairs of Brent locality patient participation groups complained to Doctor Kong the chair of Brent CCG about this advertisement as being inaccurate and misleading: only for their communications officer to reply on behalf of the CCG with a rebuff to the complaint.

Peter Latham, Chair Willesden PPG and BPV Steering Group member


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