Granada Broadband, Granada Media's newly formed new media division, and Flextech are vying for up to£5 million from the National Health Service, in a bid to incorporate government services into their forthcoming digital health channels, writes Colin Robe
Granada and Flextech are keen to become the government's official suppliers of NHS services via digital TV, using their proposed Good Health and Living Health channels respectively. Both are already in discussions with Department of Health officials about the project.

Health minister Gisela Stuart this week invited tenders for a planned£5 million pilot project, which would explore how the government would use digital TV.

She wants to create a digital TV channel similar to telephone health line NHS Direct, which is manned by nurses.

'We aim to establish an NHS digital gateway, set up groundbreaking pilot projects of applications of digital television in the health field and develop targeted public health material for digital TV channels,' she said.

Granada's Good Health, which is already in development, will be a dual-purpose digital TV proposition, providing interactive TV services and programming for both medical professionals and members of the public.

The service is being headed by ex-BBC Resources sales and marketing director Paula Carter, who joined Granada last year (Broadcast, 12.11.99).

Living Health, ostensibly an offshoot of Flextech's existing Living channel, will be a multimedia TV channel featuring a range of health advice and well-being programming (Broadcast, 27.8.00).

The channel is being overseen by Flextech head of channel development Dave Brennan, and is expected to launch later this year.

A shortlist of companies will be announced by the government in the summer and the final contracts are set to be awarded later this year.