The British Medical Association has said that doctors should not interact with their patients on social not-working sites like Facebook.
The BMA, whose job it is to stop doctors being unethical and creating Frankenstein’s monsters out of corpses in their garden sheds, is worried that social networking blurs professional boundaries.
According to the Guardian, Doctors are not supposed to be friends with their patients, and those who have made friends on Facebook have had a few problems.
Medical staff and students should reject any approaches by current and former patients to avoid the risk of blurring the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship, the BMA has warned.
A new BMA guidance also cautions against posting “informal, personal or derogatory comments” about patients on social media sites.
Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, told the Guardian most doctors would not accept Facebook friend requests from patients, we guess it is because they know what is wrong with them. However a minority said they would consider doing so.
Doctors could become aware of information about their patients that has not been disclosed as part of a clinical consultation. The BMA prefers patients to undergo a more formal examination in a clinic.
Calland is worried about doctors disclosing information about their patients online.
The advice follows similar guidelines issued this week by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. A number of medical staff have been investigated and struck off for “improper use” of Facebook.
Nurses and midwives are banned from posting photos of patients, discussing work online and publishing sensitive information.