Doctors who ‘mislead’ on social media could soon be subject to regulatory action | UK News
Doctors who share “misleading” information on social media could face regulatory action, according to planned new guidelines.
Posts posted to Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are among those that could be reviewed by the General Medical Council (GMC) if a doctor is flagged.
The council is to update its guide to good medical practice, seen by some as a modern Hippocratic oath, for the first time in nearly a decade.
The latest draft states that doctors must “be honest and trustworthy, specify the limits of their knowledge [and] carry out reasonable checks to ensure that the information provided is not misleading”.
This is the first proposal to update the guidelines since 2013 and it is out for consultation. The document will also make the doctor responsible for taking action if they become aware of workplace bullying, as well as discrimination and sexual harassment.
“Good medical practice is the foundation that helps guide ethical practice and helps physicians provide the best possible care in a world of increasingly complex medicine,” said Charlie Massey, CEO of the GMC.
“This update is intended to be relevant and useful to healthcare professionals, and to benefit patients, now and for years to come. There is ample evidence of the damage poor workplace cultures can do to patient safety and ultimately the UK’s ability to retain the healthcare professionals it needs.
Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “Good medical practice provides the fundamental ethical principles that all doctors in the UK should follow in order to provide patients with the best possible care.
“A lot has changed in medicine in recent years and the pandemic has exacerbated the pressures on frontline medical staff.
“It is therefore important to have the opportunity to reflect on the professional values, knowledge and behaviors expected of our doctors and surgeons.
He added that he was “appalled” by recent allegations of sexual harassment and abuse that some surgeons had shared on social media.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the medical profession is welcoming and inclusive, regardless of an individual’s background, race or gender,” he said. “It means we all treat each other with respect and challenge any unacceptable behavior.
“We will use the updated guide to good medical practice and lessons learned by the profession over the past few years as the basis for our core standards document, Good Surgical Practice, when we review it.”