The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a number of advertisements for Babylon's GP at Hand service, viewed between November 2017 and February 2018, were misleading and must no longer be used in their current form.
The ruling follows eight complaints, including one from a GP, which claimed that the ads did not specify that service users must leave their current GP and that the service was available only to consumers within a 40-minute travel distance of the five GP at Hand surgeries in London. Complainants also challenged the advertised statement ‘See an NHS GP in minutes for free 24/7’.
All complaints were upheld in full.
The ASA found that in the absence of any information in the ads to explain that consumers must leave their current GP to use the service, consumers were likely to regard the service provided by GP at Hand was an additional service to supplement the service that they received from their current GP.
“We considered that because users of the service would need to change their GP in order to make use of it, this was material information that consumers should have been made aware of in the ads. This information was likely to affect whether or not a consumer would investigate the service further,” the authority concluded.
“We considered that clicking through into the sign-up process from the home page/screen constituted a transactional decision which some consumers would not have taken had the home screen made clear that they must change their GP to use the service. Because the ads did not make clear that consumers must change their GP to use the service, we concluded that the ads were misleading.”
GP at Hand has been instructed that the ads can no longer be used in their current form.