NHS Devon’s ‘Love Your Skin’ teenage skin cancer intervention scooped the health service’s most prestigious social marketing award.

The winner was announced by The NSMC’s director, John Bromley, at a ceremony in central London on Tuesday evening.

NHS Devon worked with Exeter College to help tackle Devon’s high rates of malignant melanoma. Tapping into the insight that teens were more concerned about their appearance than their health, students were offered consultations in which a U.V. scanner was used to show signs of over-exposure. Importantly, they were also shown how to carry out safer behaviours, such as applying fake tan and sun cream, as well as given information on being sun-safe.

Students were involved in the design of consultation resources. The intervention led to an increase in students who intended to move out of the sun between 11am and 3pm from 23 per cent to 41 per cent.

Commenting on the award, John Bromley said: ‘NHS Devon has shown the power of engaging people in the design of cost-effective public health interventions. At a cost of £3,000, it would need to prevent just three cases of skin cancer to represent value for money. It shows social marketing’s potential to achieve tangible results in increasingly challenging financial circumstances”.

Also among the finalists were NHS Lincolnshire and partners for a healthy eating initiative; and a partnership including St John Ambulance and the British Heart Foundation, for a project to teach life-saving skills to school children.