A medical defence union is warning GPs of the ‘serious ethical challenges’ social media poses for the doctor-patient relationship, after a spike in enquiries.
The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) has seen 74% increase in calls from doctors asking about social media this year, compared with 2013.
This comes after a study published last month in the Lancet found one in seven doctors had accepted Facebook friend requests from patients.
MDDUS medical adviser Dr Naeem Nazem said: ‘The rise of social media has created some serious ethical challenges for doctors and their relationship with patients.
‘We have handled a number of cases where doctors have sought advice from us regarding social media issues, including patients posting critical or abusive comments.’
Dr Nazem added: ‘Accepting a Facebook friend request from a patient or commenting on a post risks blurring the boundaries between a professional and personal relationship.’