ASA Adjudication on Atos IT Services UK Ltd | 4 April 2012

From the website of the Advertising Standards Authority, 4 April 2012.

Atos IT Services UK Ltd t/a Atos Healthcare

Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: A11-180372

Background

SUMMARY OF COUNCIL DECISION: Two issues were investigated and both were Upheld.

AD: Claims on www.atoshealthcare.com, visited on 30 November 2011, described Atos Healthcare’s services. Text stated “… Each year Atos Healthcare process over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice completing over 800,000 face-to-face medical assessments within our nationwide network of over 140 medical examination centres … All our 1700+ healthcare professionals are fully trained to undertake disability assessments. Doctors are registered with the General Medical Council, nurses with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and physiotherapists with the Health Professions Council. All healthcare professionals are approved by the Chief Medical Adviser of the DWP …”.

ISSUE: www.whywaitforever.com challenged whether the claims:

1. “Each year Atos Healthcare process over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice completing over 800,000 face-to-face medical assessments”; and

2. “our 1700+ healthcare professionals”

were misleading and could be substantiated.

CAP Code (Edition 12)
1.73.13.113.7

RESPONSE: Atos IT Services UK Ltd t/a Atos Healthcare (Atos) did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.

ASSESSMENT: Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Atos’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

We noted that Atos had not provided evidence to show that each year it processed over 1.2 million referrals for medical advice and completed over 800,000 face-to-face medical assessments, or that it had over 1700 healthcare professionals. We therefore considered that the claims had not been substantiated and concluded the ad was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.7 (Unreasonable delay), 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

ACTION: The ad must not appear again in its current form. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.