Health Education: Expenditure

Health written question – answered on 10th November 2009.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on (a) consultants, (b) advertising, (c) publishing, (d) public relations, (e) professional training and (f) other activities for each health promotion campaign (i) run by the Department and (ii) commissioned from other organisations, in (A) 2005-06, (B) 2006-07, (C) 2007-08 and (D) 2008-09; and which organisation ran each campaign which was not run by the Department.

Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Minister of State (the East Midlands), Regional Affairs, Minister of State (the East Midlands), Department of Health

The following table shows the Department's advertising expenditure over the last four completed financial years.

Department of Health advertising spend in 2005-06 to 2008-09( 1)
£ million
Campaign 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Alcohol (from 2006-07 departmental contribution to campaign run jointly with Home Office) 0.00 0.56 0.61 4.77
Antibiotics 0.38 0.00 0.39 1.15
Change4Life 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.69
Drugs (departmental contribution to campaign run jointly with Home Office) 0.18 1.34 0.67 1.45
Flu (Immunisation) 1.83 1.11 0.98 1.42
Hepatitis C 0.00 0.52 1.34 1.30
HPV Vaccination 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.80
Immunisation 0.00 1.66 0.00 0.32
National health service including nurse recruitment 0.22 0.00 0.00 0.00
NHS Injury Benefits Scheme 0.00 0.00 0.40 0.00
NHS Choices 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.55
Patient Choice 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.53
Respiratory and Hand Hygiene 0.00 0.00 0.32 1.53
Sexual health/teenage pregnancy 0.00 2.88 3.11 2.83
Social care/worker recruitment 2.42 2.31 2.22 2.03
Smoking-Tobacco Control 20.80 13.17 10.79 23.38
Stroke 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.52
Tobacco Legislation 0.00 0.32 5.38 0.00
Winter (get the right treatment/ask about medicines day) 0.59 0.00 0.00 0.00
5 a Day 0.05 0.05 0.00 0.00
E111/EHIC 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.16
DH outdoor campaign 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 27.47 23.92 26.24 56.43
(1) Advertising spend is defined as covering only media spend (inclusive of agency commissions but excluding production costs, COI commission and VAT). All figures exclude advertising rebates and audit adjustments and therefore may differ from COI official turnover figures. All figures are rounded to the nearest £10,000. These figures do not include departmental recruitment/classified advertising costs and ad hoc spend under £10,000. These figures may include occasional minor spend through COI by NHS organisations, to supplement national campaigns in their area. While this expenditure has been excluded as far as possible so that this chart reflects central departmental spend, it would incur disproportionate cost to validate that every item of NHS expenditure has been removed.

The following table shows the Department's expenditure on publishing over the last four completed financial years.

2005-06 7,541,114.58
2006-07 6,844,186.98
2007-08 4,544,623.78
2008-09 6,387,399.42

The Department commissions public relations companies through two routes:

The Department's own public relations (PR) framework established in compliance with European Union procurement directives. The framework agreement does not guarantee any work to suppliers. Some of the companies on the framework have not had any contracts with the Department during the past five years; others may have had several contracts across different campaigns.

The Central Office of Information (COI) PR framework established in compliance with EU procurement directives.

The following table shows the Department's expenditure over the last four completed financial years on public relations consultancies.

Department expenditure on public relations consultancies 2005-09
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Direct expenditure from the Department
Excluding VAT 5,080,773 5,017,342 6,438,491 5,397,391
Expenditure through Central Office of Information
Excluding VAT 71,756 65,580 25,582 4,200,876

1. The above expenditure includes additional expenditure made directly by NHS Connecting for Health (part of the Department of Health), but excludes any expenditure by Arms Length Bodies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

2. Expenditure through COI PR services includes work carried out by COI's regional PR team and PR agencies on the COI roster.

3. The above expenditure includes both fees and costs i.e. fees and expenses to cover time worked by agency staff and costs incurred during the work. Costs may include items such as: design, printing, venue hire, photography, travel and postage. However, it is not possible to extract a more detailed breakdown from Department of Health's financial reporting system.

The following table shows expenditure on health promotion campaigns commissioned from other organisations by the Department over the last four completed financial years. These figures represent communications activities but are not split into the individual categories as per departmental expenditure, as these records are not held centrally by the Department and to identify them would be to incur disproportionate cost.

Campaign £
2005-06 British Heart Foundation (1)4,000,000
Terence Higgins Trust 1,200,000
African HIV Policy Network 440,000
2006-07 Cancer Research UK (1)3,000,000
Terence Higgins Trust 1,700,000
African HIV Policy Network 760,000
2007-08 Terence Higgins Trust 1,700,000
African HIV Policy Network 600,000
2008-09 To consortium of British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK 500,000
Terence Higgins Trust 1,700,000
African HIV Policy Network 600,000
Netmums 55,000
ContinYou 25,000
(1) Under section 64.

Records for consultants, professional training and other activities are not held centrally and would incur disproportionate cost to identify.

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Grace Filby
Posted on 10 Sep 2010 4:03 pm (Report this annotation)

See Section 93 of the Medicines Act 1968: This clause makes it an offence for a party to circulate a misleading advertisement relating to a medicinal product:

93. (1) False or misleading advertisements and representations: Subject to the following provisions of this section, any person who, being a commercially interested party, or at the request or with the consent of a commercially interested party, issues, or causes another person to issue, a false or misleading advertisement relating to medicinal products of any description shall be guilty of an offence.

(9)Any person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £400;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

So £2.8 million of our public money was spent on advertising HPV vaccination in 2008-9. Did you know it was spreading false and misleading information about the risk of side effects? The Dept of Health admitted this online to me in a FOI reply in November 2008 but took until June/July 2009 to announce any amendment to NHS staff generally. That expensive government advertising was playing down known side effects by 10x-100x and not even mentioning some side effects.

Now girls are commenting on the NHS Choices website that they are suffering horrible side effects as a result, without having been informed of the risks - and school nurses just brushed them aside.

Even now, smaller official leaflets currently being circulated via schools September 2010 describe the side effects of Cervarix as "quite mild". If young girls are being led to believe that the only side effects are quite mild and that more serious side effects are "extremely rare" and "the nurses know how to deal with them" then clearly that information is false and misleading too.

The public are still not being given the full balanced facts by the govt advertising. One parent was moved to write on the NHS Choices website: "this injection has ruined my daughter's life" and another 19 year old girl now describes herself as disabled with rheumatoid arthritis. She had been told there were no severe side effects and nobody was seriously harmed. Other quotes are "so ill and tired"; "blinding migraines", "severe pain", "really scared", "not informed of any side effects", "side effects of which I was not advised", and "it is a concern that parents are NOT being given the full balanced facts" to which others agree.

Grace Filby
Posted on 4 Dec 2010 11:33 am (Report this annotation)

I have posted a brief account of my evidence about the UK Cervarix programme at