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Practice Matters Issue 2: June 2013

The social media phenomenon is changing the ways doctors interact with their patients and wider society.

Traditional boundaries between private and professional life are becoming blurred and the potential for members to inadvertently fall into medicolegal traps is increasing.

Professionalism extends far beyond the mere exercise of skill; it extends beyond the workplace and into one’s private life.

A medical professional is expected, by his colleagues and society, to be a person who can be trusted to act with integrity at all times.

Professional bodies around the world have recognised both the potential for the good that social networking technologies offer and also the risks for unwary practitioners. The GMC’s latest guidance Good Medical Practice seeks to clarify and acknowledge these emerging issues.

Professionalism extends far beyond the mere exercise of skill; it extends beyond the workplace and into one’s private life

In our leading feature ‘Social media black hole’ Professor Sir Peter Rubin explains why doctors should reveal their names when commenting on medical issues.

He says although they won’t get struck off if they don’t, it is good practice to do so. It is worth remembering that the laws of defamation apply equally to any comments that are made online.

The onus is on you to be mindful of what you write. Over the next year Professor Sir Peter Rubin will be contributing columns drawing on key areas of the guidance.

Dr Richard Stacey
Editor-in-chief and MPS medicolegal adviser

Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of publishing (June 2013)
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