Trust managers have condemned NHS England for ordering them to change their logos on signs and websites.

NHS provider and commissioner organisations have been told to alter their logos on official communications, signs and online, in order to reduce “confusion and concern” among the public.

Local managers have received emails from NHS England “identity managers” saying changes to the logos should be made to online publications within a year and to all other areas when practical.

The main change seems to be moving the rectangle that says NHS above the name of the organisation.

Trust managers told HSJ the move was a waste of time and money when the service was under such high levels of operational and financial pressure.

One senior manager told HSJ: “Clearly NHS organisations aren’t very busy and have lots of time to amend their logos, and have lots of money so that won’t be a problem either.”

Another said: “When you look at the new one, you have to ask yourself why [the changes were made].”

The NHS England emails said “Patients and the public are seeing the NHS identity in a range of diverse and inconsistent styles. This is creating confusion and concern.”

An NHS England spokesman told HSJ this could “lead to more people inappropriately defaulting to A&E”.

He added that the exercise, which applies to providers and commissioners, had only cost £23 per organisation.

The spokesman confirmed that the NHS identity team has two staff, paid at bands 8c (£56,000-£69,000) and 8a (£40,000-£48,000).

NHS England said the team’s work comprised only 5 per cent of the more senior manager’s job and 50 per cent of the junior role.