We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.

Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

(Req)

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.

You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Continue

These cookies are required

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.

If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Preferences Cookies

These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.

For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.

Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.

3rd Party Cookies

Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.

Apply & close

Who are you speaking for?

When using a social network it is important to be clear whether you are using it in a personal capacity or speaking on behalf of an organisation. Doctors who want to express their own views are advised to state clearly in their social media profiles that they are writing in a personal capacity. Another way of avoiding any confusion about whether an individual is speaking in a personal or official capacity is to remove any reference to organisations in your social media profile. Many secondary care organisations have social media policies which specify that employees should not identify where they work on their social media profiles. 

Is this guidance helpful? Let us know what you think.

6 replies

  • This isn't very clear. Are you saying  If not referring to membership of specific organisations eg the BMA, then there's no need to declare "views my own"

  • In reply to Mary Church:

    I think the assumed wisdom is that having "views my own" on your profile and not linking yourself to an organisation such as the BMA insulates you to a certain degree from getting into trouble with employers or organisations that you are linked to, however I'm not aware of a case in which this has been used in a successful defence. Can our social media department produce such an example?

  • In reply to Antony Christopher Bolton:

    Including a statement that clarifies 'your views are your own' is good practice. The possibility exists that if you say where you work, for example, someone could assume you are speaking on behalf of that organisation. It could get awkward if it was then picked up in the press.

  • In reply to Gordon Fletcher:

    But is there any evidence that this statement is actually protective? I'm asking out of genuine curiosity because I'm not sure it will stand up in court.

  • In reply to Antony Christopher Bolton:

    I'm not identified on Facebook as a doctor, but it would be easy to guess that I am. However, I feel no need to say the views expressed are my own, since there is no affiliation mentioned either. In fact, I am not an employee, so cannot speak on an employer's behalf. However, if I did work for the NHS, would I be unable to express any view on NHS provision? I think that many thousands of them do.

  • In reply to Gerald Thomas Freshwater:

    By the way, the guidance seems good to me.