Doctors and social media; do we breach any of the guidelines?

“In response to several comments from colleagues regarding my role on this blog. We have sought guidance from the British Medical Association who make the following points in their document on ‘Using social media: practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students’.”

Key points:

  1. Social media can blur the boundary between an individual’s public and professional lives
  2. Doctors and medical students should consider adopting conservative privacy settings where these are available but be aware that not all information can be protected on the web
  3. The ethical and legal duty to protect patient confidentiality applies equally on the internet as to
  4. other media
  5. It would be inappropriate to post informal, personal or derogatory comments about patients or colleagues on public internet forums
  6. Doctors and medical students who post online have an ethical obligation to declare any conflicts of interest
  7. The BMA recommends that doctors and medical students should not accept Facebook friend requests from current or former patients
  8. Defamation law can apply to any comments posted on the web made in either a personal or professional capacity
  9. Doctors and medical students should be conscious of their online image and how it may impact on their professional standing
“If you think we are in breach of any of these key guidelines please let me know. Thank you!”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • I don't think the blog breaches any of the guidelines. You don't seem to blur your prefessional and private boundaries, except for letting us know when you are participating in fundraising events etc. To me you enable interested parties to ask questions of an expert, whch seems morally right. Also, you always declare COI.

  • Oh please not another set of rules for what actually is an innovative & extremely important enterprise (i.e. this blog). You're not breach anything G – the only thing I would advise you and the MDs is to limit your participation in provacations in the comment sections put forward by 'you know who'.

    • I assume this comment refers to me? Such a shame that just because I question things I am therefore perceived as a villain.

      I too would like to live in an MS-free world. The only difference is I know we're not there and won't be anytime soon. I'm simply pragmatic. In the meantime, the poison sold under the guise of expensive medicine is immoral.

      I'm a rapper, not a fighter.

    • You are a dreamer. This post has nothing to do with you. It is about Prof G. The MDs are not docs so we can kick some a**e or a*s

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