Typing 'where did all the money go' into Google until recently directed users to the website of the Department of Health's IT programme.

Now the DoH has stepped in after revelations that a communications agency employed by NHS Connecting for Health set up sponsored links on the search engine.

Other search terms that flagged up the site included 'Public Accounts Committee'.

Ben Bradshaw, the minister responsible for CfH, also admitted that 'the names of a small number of individuals' were chosen as search terms by the Good Relations PR firm in a move 'without authorisation and without consultation'.

Conservative health spokesman Stephen O'Brien said it appeared to have been an attempt to 'massage the image' of CfH.

He told HSJ: 'They know there has been a lot of stiff criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and the phrase "where did all the money go" is a Conservative slogan used by me and in press releases.'

Good Relations will continue to be a contractor.