Mellors Reay & Partners launched a campaign to promote a new
National Health Service telephone advice line this week.
Government officials say the agency has produced ’good work’ for a
pounds 250,000 local radio and newspaper push unveiled in three pilot
areas, and is expected to be retained as the service is extended
nationwide by the year 2000. The account could eventually be worth
between pounds 1 million and pounds 2 million.
In its first work since being added to the Government’s roster last
summer, Mellors Reay has created three press and radio ads encouraging
people worried about a crying baby, a persistent headache or a painful
ankle to ring the NHS direct helpline.
The three-month campaign will be backed by a leaflet drop to households
in the Milton Keynes, Preston and Newcastle areas. It may be fine-tuned
as the volume, type and duration of calls is monitored.
Romola Christopherson, director of press and publicity at the Department
of Health, said: ’This started as a small-scale job for the agency but,
unusually, it could become a high-profile one over time. The pilot
schemes will test the ads as well as the service.’
Ministers believe the 24-hour helpline, manned by nurses, could make the
NHS more efficient, getting immediate help to ’at risk’ patients while
relieving the pressure on GP surgeries and hospital accident and
emergency departments caused by non-urgent cases. Help-lines have proved
successful in the US.