The British Heart Foundation – watch your own heart attack

Grey London


Heart attacks kill 94,000 people a year in the UK. Many of those deaths are caused by “patient delay” – where people having a heart attack fail to call 999 immediately. The problem is that people don't know the full range of symptoms, and so don't realise they're having a heart attack.

Historically, campaigns – particularly communications campaigns – have been unsuccessful in changing behaviour. But the British Heart Foundation refused to accept that behavioural change is impossible. It believed communications could reduce patient delay by raising awareness of the range of heart attack symptoms.

This paper is about how Planning challenged its own conventions and assumptions to meet that difficult brief.