The letters ‘NHS’ and the NHS logo are protected by law. They are UK trademarks owned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and may not be produced without permission.
Printers and suppliers of identity badges, lanyards, uniform and stationery items have standing permission to use the NHS logo on these items, but they must be on the NHS Supply Chain framework or contracted directly by an NHS organisation.
NHS organisations can commission the production of other merchandise branded with their organisational logo and gift them to staff. The core NHS logo cannot be used. Items may include pens, badges, tote bags, clothing (that isn’t uniform) or mugs. You need to use suppliers on the NHS Supply Chain framework, or commission a bespoke order with a supplier contracted by your organisation.
Please consider before committing spend on these items whether they are necessary and ensure you can demonstrate that the benefits would justify the use of public money. Please note these items are not permitted to be sold to staff, patients or the public once purchased by an NHS organisation for internal use.
Suppliers of staff identification items and other NHS branded items/merchandise
Suppliers of any branded items need to comply with all the criteria below. Failure to do so will be regarded as ‘unlicensed use of the logo’ and may result in legal action being taken.
- Items cannot be held in stock, but instead must be manufactured to order once commissioned by an NHS organisation or an organisation with an NHS contract to deliver health services.
- Payment must come directly from an NHS organisation or an organisation with an NHS contract to deliver health services. Items cannot be sold directly to individuals.
- Items must be delivered to an NHS organisation’s address or the address of an organisation with an NHS contract to deliver health services.
- Suppliers will need to make it clear that points 2 and 3 above apply and are a condition of them providing items carrying the NHS logo.
- Except for illustrations of example wares, suppliers are not permitted to use the NHS logo, or an NHS organisation’s logo, in their promotional material, including on their websites. For further information see here.
- Any items sold as uniform must be in line with the branded uniforms section of the NHS Identity guidelines.
- Suppliers must use the NHS logo in accordance with the NHS Identity guidelines.
- Suppliers must comply with any additional instructions given to them by the trademark owner concerning the use of the NHS logo.
Third party suppliers are not permitted to sell branded items containing any of the NHS trademarks to a non-NHS organisation, including members of the general public or directly to NHS staff, without a licence from the Department of Health and Social Care. Only in exceptional circumstances would a licence request be considered as third parties may not profit from use of the NHS Identity.