PCT branding a waste of money, says MP

August 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Putting Rochdale FIRST!Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has called the decision to rebrand Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust to the name NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale a "complete waste of money". He went further and claimed that this was all about "vanity". He said that recent examples of 'rebranding' have cost PCTs up to £15,000!

Mr Rowen added: "I cannot understand why our PCT are going to the expense of this name change. I would argue that this move is both unnecessary and costly. The PCT should be putting the care of patients first instead of their public image. This seems to be a trendy, vanity-led project that won't help the health of the people of this Borough one iota."

The Liberal Democrats have now put in a series of Freedom of Information requests to find out the cost of the move.

Mr Rowen continued: "I am amazed at this decision and my office have now put in a number of requests for information. This includes why the PCT is taking this step? Who made the decision? And more importantly what is the cost? A recent rebranding of Norfolk Primary Care Trust to NHS Norfolk cost £15,000 for new signs and stationary supplies. If all of England's 152 Primary Care Trusts spent the same amount on their own rebranding exercise, the total cost would exceed £2m. We need to know whether this is worth it and local taxpayers are getting value for money."

Nadine Powell, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs at NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, responded: "All PCT's in the country will eventually re-brand to drop the terminology, 'Primary Care Trust' in our every day use.

"This falls in line with our own organisational objective to become recognised in Rochdale Borough as the local leader of the NHS. It's a move supported fully by the Department of Health.

"I want to reassure the people of Rochdale Borough, that there will be no costs associated with this re-branding exercise which is simply the use of a new logo which has been designed by the national NHS Identity organisation at no local cost.

"We do not use printed letterheads - our stationery is held on electronic template so it's just a matter of slotting the new design in. Items such as information booklets will only be reprinted as stocks run out. Signage will be replaced when it is beyond economical repair and identity badges and uniforms will use the new logo only when new ones are issued.

"Any other industry, refreshing its brand would make a wholesale change, but we are mindful of the need to spend our public funds wisely and achieve balance."

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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST:

With regards to the name change and re-branding from Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust to the brand name NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale.

Could the PCT please tell us:

(1) The reasons for this re-branding? Who made the decision?

(2) What is the cost of such an exercise in terms of new notices, new letter headings, uniforms / badges, advertising, logo, website, public relations and any other cost associated with the re-branding?