Nav: Home

Why was the NHS logo not protected during referendum campaigns, asks GP?

October 12, 2016

The Vote Leave campaign in the UK referendum on membership of the European Union was repeatedly warned by the Department of Health for England not to use the NHS logo ahead of the vote, an article published in The BMJ reveals.

Emails obtained by Dr Paul Thornton, a GP from Nuneaton in Warwickshire, under freedom of information legislation, show that in February 2016 the department's NHS brand and identity team issued warnings to the campaign about using the logo.

Dr Thornton believes it is in the public interest to know why the NHS logo was not protected through the referendum campaigns.

The NHS logo was a prominent part of the Vote Leave campaign. It was displayed on leaflets delivered to homes and on the "Brexit battle bus" that toured the United Kingdom from May 2016, ahead of the referendum on 23 June.

The advertisement on the side of the bus said, "We send the EU £350m a week. Let's fund our NHS instead."

The team's letter to Vote Leave explained that it was "against our guidelines" to use the NHS in this way and that it risked "misleading and confusing the public."

The Vote Leave campaign was asked to amend or remove leaflets containing the NHS logo and to stop their distribution within seven days. This did not occur.

The NHS logo and letters are registered trademarks owned by the secretary of state for health. The NHS said that the current logo, which was introduced in 1999, was recognised by 95% of members of the public and associated with high levels of trust, credibility, and authority.

Dr Thornton said that he had submitted the request because "it was clear that the £350m was not going to go to the health service and that was a deception." He added, "I knew that the NHS logo was copyrighted. The question was whether the Department of Health had done anything about that."

Thornton said that he intended to appeal to the information commissioner for further information that was withheld, as he believed it to be in the public interest to know why the NHS logo was not protected through the referendum campaigns.

The Department of Health declined to comment. The BMJ contacted the Vote Leave campaign and the MPs Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Gisela Stuart, prominent members of the Vote Leave campaign, for comment but had not received responses by the time of publication.
-end-
News: Health department warned Vote Leave campaign not to use NHS logo http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i5482

About BMJ

BMJ is a healthcare knowledge provider that aims to advance healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experiences, outcomes and value. For a full list of BMJ products and services, please visit bmj.com

BMJ

Related Health Articles:

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.
Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.
Geographic and health system correlates of interprofessional oral health practice
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health (Volume 6, Number 2, 2018, pp.
Bloomberg era's emphasis on 'health in all policies' improved New Yorkers' heart health
From 2002 to 2013, New York City implemented a series of policies prioritizing the public's health in areas beyond traditional healthcare policies and illustrated the potential to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Youth consider mobile health units a safe place for sexual health services
Mobile health units bring important medical services to communities across the country.
More Health News and Health Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...