Social Media

As technology has advanced social media has become an every day part of our lives.  As doctors it can be a valuable tool for educational purposes and for meeting and talking to colleagues.  The majority of us will also use it in our own social lives outside of the medical sphere.

 

However, the use of social media can also pose challenges for doctors.  As GP trainees you will work within relatively small populations of patients who are often part of close-knit communities.  Many of those patients will have access to social media and therefore potential access to you and your views.  Earlier this year the RCGP produced The Social Media Highway Code which aims to provide some principles to help doctors use social media effectively and in a responsible manner – I would definitely suggest you have a look!

 

The GMC have issued guidance on social media and medical defence organisations are taking an interest.  Personally, I feel that social media has a huge amount to offer when it comes to sharing ideas, discussing issues and also providing a source of support.  Are you willing to give it a go?

“Whistleblowing” in the NHS

The recent report from Grant Thornton highlighting the alleged cover up by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of the deaths of babies in Furness General Hospital has thrown the process of “whistleblowing” within the NHS into the spotlight.

 

The British Medical Association (BMA) defines whistle blowing as “the popular term applied to a situation where an employee raises concerns to people who have the power and willingness to take corrective action”.  There has also been a recent article in the BMJ examining the issues which surround whistle blowing.

 

As trainees you may be involved in, or become aware of, events which you feel require escalation.  Whether this occurs in hospital, or in general practice, the process of raising concerns is likely to be a difficult one.  I hope that the links included give you some guidance as to the best approach: RCGP – NHS Whistle Blowing and GMC – Raising Concerns.  You can also find a thought-provoking post about whistle blowing from NHS Consultant Philip Berry on his blog “Illusions of Autonomy” which illustrates the dilemmas you may face.