Diabetes UK’s campaign to cancel diabetes prescriptions fines won three awards at the PRWeek UK Awards held at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, last night (20 October 2015).
The ‘Dan!’ campaign won the overall campaign of the year award as well as winning the award in both the Not-For-Profit and Public Affairs. It also received a high commendation in the Social Media category.
The judges were highly impressed by the ‘Dan!’ campaign, which used a clip of spoof TV presenter Alan Partridge to create a funny online video that aimed to persuade health minister Dan Poulter to stop fining people with diabetes for claiming free prescriptions.
In England, people aged between 18 and 60 who use insulin or medicine to manage their diabetes are entitled to claim free prescriptions, but must apply for and present a valid medical exemption certificate. Since September 2014, thousands of people with diabetes had been fined up to £100 for not having a valid medical exemption certificate.
The need for a medical exemption certificate had been poorly communicated to people with diabetes for years. Many people had claimed free prescriptions without any problems since they were first diagnosed without having a certificate.
Produced in-house by the Diabetes UK team at minimal cost and requiring just 30 hours of work, the campaign received support from celebrities including actor Roger Moore, comedian Joe Pasquale, presenter Dominic Littlewood and singer Amelia Lily.
On the day it was launched, the video was viewed more than 1,000 times, the Facebook post reached 40,000 people and the tweet was viewed 8,300 times.
Most importantly, the campaign succeeded in achieving its goal of persuading the Government to change its rules on medical exemption certificates, making a huge difference to thousands of people with diabetes across the country who need medication to manage their condition and were in an effect being penalised for having a serious lifelong health condition.
Following the campaign, Health minister Dan Poulter instructed the NHS Business Service Authority (NHS BSA) to write to people who had been issued with a penalty charge explaining how they could get the penalty charge cancelled or refunded.
The ‘Dan!’ campaign was widely praised by the judges for being creative and engaging while also simple, fun and shareable – and, ultimately, effective.
Chris Askew, Diabetes UK’s Chief Executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our work has been recognised in the PR Week Awards, with us winning three awards. They are a testament of the hard work, innovation and quick-thinking of our staff at Diabetes UK. Campaigning on behalf of people living with diabetes is a critical part of what we do and we are hugely proud of the success of this campaign in cancelling diabetes prescription fines.”