Social media by health professionals
At a recent meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine about the response of the emergency services to the London and Manchester terror attacks, many of the clinicians praised social media as a means of communicating with each other in times of crisis. The NHS, however, is still wedded to the pager and has more than one in 10 of the world’s pagers in use at a cost of £6.6 million a year – despite the availability of modern technology at half the price. Doctors, nurses, and other workers in hospitals such as paramedics still use these ageing devices, which were invented in the 1940s, to communicate with each other. Critics described the pager as a ‘blunt instrument’, and said the bleep the devices give off do not give the user any sense of ‘urgent priority’ to answer the incoming message.
Apparently though, the General Medical Council does not approve. The General Medical Council held 28 investigations related to doctors’ use of Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp between 1 January 2015 and 30 June 2017, recent figures obtained by The BMJ have shown.
In three cases, doctors received a warning from the GMC. A warning indicates to the doctor that a certain conduct, practice, or behaviour is a departure from the standards expected of the medical profession and should not be repeated.
What are your views? Do you use social media as a means of communication at work? Do the NHS and GMC need to grasp this particular nettle?