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Commercial service delivered by an NHS organisation

NHS organisations can use the NHS Identity on their commercial services if they wish, provided its use adheres to the NHS Identity principles. In particular, principle 6 must be met – ‘The NHS Identity cannot be used to generate profit unless there is a benefit to the NHS’.

There are two options: either to use the NHS organisation’s logo (as shown above left) or create an NHS service logo (as shown above right).

The naming of commercial services should follow NHS naming principles. For example, they must include a geographic reference unless the NHS organisation can demonstrate that it is delivering a national commercial service.

Commercial services should be related to the purpose and principles of the NHS. Services unrelated to healthcare that are offered to the public, such as cleaning services, are not permitted to use the NHS Identity as this could be misleading.

If an NHS organisation wants to use their NHS organisation’s logo on any consumer products they sell they will need to request permission from the Department of Health and Social Care Identity team on behalf of the trade mark owner, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This is because it would be inappropriate to ‘brand’ certain items with the NHS Identity, and could confuse patients and the public, who may expect to get an NHS branded consumer product for free from the NHS or on prescription. In addition, people would expect such products to have been rigorously tested by the NHS and meet NHS quality standards, which may not actually be the case.

Some of the examples featured across this site may have been amended to illustrate how the guidelines should be applied.