Departmental Internet

Health written question – answered on 27 July 2010.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on search engine biasing with (i) Google and (ii) other search engines in each of the last five years.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Department has a corporate website:

www.dh.gov.uk and also manages NHS Choices:

www.nhs.uk the official health information portal for the public.

The Department's corporate website does not invest in any paid search activity. In line with Government policy, NHS Choices no longer has any arrangement, or pays for any search engine activity.

No commitments have been made with Google or any other search provider for 'pay per click' online marketing since the moratorium on marketing spend was put in place on 24 May 2010.

NHS Choices used paid search activity to ensure that it reaches the widest possible audience, and that users can easily find clinically assured health information and access the services they need from Government.

Paid search activity was a key component of several major campaigns for the Department in 2009-10, including our anti-smoking and pandemic flu campaigns, to reach as large an audience as possible.

The Department spent £2.93 million and £1.48 million on paid search activity in 2009-10 and 2008-09 respectively. A breakdown of this spend by search engine is not readily available and can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Likewise, data for the three years preceding 2008-09 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has not spent any money with Google or other search engines.

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