ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Hospital Information Services
Hospital Information Services
14 September 2005
Health and beauty
Objection to a leaflet that was headed "Important Helplines" and stated "Compensation Careline www.hospitalpages.co.uk/compensation ... Criminal Injuries - Compensation Freephone ... NHS Health Information Service Freephone ... www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk ... NHS Direct Freephone ... www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk www.nhstrust.com. The reverse of the leaflet was also headed "Important Helplines" and stated "Compensation Careline ... www.hospitalpages.co.uk/compensation ... Alcoholics Anonymous ... www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk ... Crimestoppers Freephone ... www.crimstoppers-uk.org ... Criminal Injuries - Compensation Freephone .... The Samaritans ... www.samaritans.org.uk www.nhstrust.com".
1. The complainant objected that the inclusion of the website address "www.nhstrust.com" on the leaflet was misleading because it implied the website had a connection to the NHS.
2. The Authority challenged whether including the details for a no-win no-fee solicitors in a list of "Important Helplines" misleadingly implied that the "Compensation Careline" and the "Criminal Injuries - Compensation" phone lines were non-commercial helplines.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
1. Complaint upheld
Hospital Information Services (HIS) said their website promoted health issues. They said the .com suffix of the web address made clear that the web site was for a private company. HIS said the leaflet would not be printed again.
We noted that the .com suffix was usually used by commercial companies and that visitors to the website "www.nhstrust.com" were automatically transferred to "www.hospitalpages.co.uk". We considered that readers would assume the web address "www.nhspages.com" was connected to the NHS and, because it was not, the use of the website address in the ad was misleading. We told HIS to remove the web address from the leaflet and use the "www.hospitalpages.co.uk" address in future.
HIS said the compensation careline was a free phone line for a compensation company. They said readers would understand that the Compensation Careline was not the phone line for a charity, but the phone line for a compensation company. They said the juxtaposition of non-commercial help lines and the commercial compensation phonelines was not misleading.
We noted that apart from the "Compensation Careline" and the "Criminal Injuries - Compensation" phone lines, all the phone lines listed in the leaflet were non-commercial helplines. We noted that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) was a non-commercial public body that compensated the innocent victims of violent crime or people injured trying to apprehend criminals or prevent a crime. We considered that, because the other phone lines on the leaflet were for non-commercial organisations, readers were likely to infer that the "Compensation Careline" and the "Criminal Injuries - Compensation" phone lines were the phone lines for CICA, or another similar organisation, not for a commercial compensation company. We told HIS not to repeat the approach in future.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 6.1 (Honesty), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 20.2 (Denigration and unfair advantage) and 22.1 (Recognising marketing communications and identifying marketers).