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women with a bad back

Directing people to the right health advice

The challenge

Health services are under an immense amount of pressure so people accessing the right health advice from the right service is vital.

By 2022, every health board was united under the NHS 111 Wales service.

As part of the Welsh Government’s Six Goals for Emergency Care programme – a collaboration between 111 Wales, NHS Wales, and Welsh Ambulance Service Trust – Cowshed developed the brand and strategic communication approach to launch the all-Wales 111 symptom checker and drive people online first for non-life-threatening care.

The idea

We spoke to 50 members of the public about their experience with NHS 111 and analysed existing patient feedback and NHS data to understand barriers to accessing NHS 111 Wales.

The resounding feedback was a lack of trust in NHS 111 Wales digital and phone services, as people were unsure of the qualifications and expertise of those manning the service.

From this we devised ‘healthcare advice you can trust.’ From our insights we developed an integrated campaign, which portrayed a humorous slant on advice seeking behaviours. A man asking his window cleaner for advice on his baby’s temperature, a woman asking her dog for suggestions on her back pain, and a student turning to a drive thru speaker for answers on her irritating rash.

We multiplied the impact of TV, radio, out of home and digital activations by creating organic video case studies ‘behind the scenes’ at the 111-call centre, humanising the workforce and reassuring the public of their expertise.

We also enlisted relevant influencers to chat about their positive experiences of the NHS 111 Wales online service, to encourage use by those aged 18-34.


increase in use of symptom checker.