Doctors demand action to stop patients lusting after them online

British Medical Association calls for sanctions against people who post footage of GP consultations

Doctors
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Doctors are demanding action to stop patients rating their attractiveness and capabilities in recordings of consultations posted on social media.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has backed a motion for patients to be sued or otherwise sanctioned for posting video or audio footage of their appointments, The Times reports.

“These can range from terrible appointments to people posting to share how hot their doc is. And for each of these, private consultations are opened up to public comment and critique, and the individual’s privacy is undermined. This is not an issue of transparency or of accountability of practice but one of boundaries and trust,” trainee GP Zoe Greaves told the association’s annual representative meeting in Brighton.

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Research has shown that patients only remember about a third of the content of their consultation, so they are allowed to use recordings as a memory aide, says the Daily Mail.

But doctors say action is needed to ensure these recordings are used appropriately.

A BMA spokesperson said: “Should a patient publish audio or video recordings without consent, they may be at risk of unlawfully misusing the doctor’s private information. Greater support and legal protection should therefore be afforded to doctors, given the significant difficulties they may face in trying to prevent publication or remove published material.”

However, the chair of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, John Chisholm, said that giving doctors more powers to force patients to remove such posts “would be problematic”, because “it really isn’t very patient-centred to have a motion that talks of condemning patients and sanctions against patients”.

Dr Cyrus Abbasian agreed, saying that “the consultation ultimately belongs to the patient and they can do what they want with it”. He told delegates: “We need proper guidelines for patients, and we need to educate them that putting this information online could ultimately damage them.”

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