The Practice recognises that Social Media provides unique opportunities to engage and share Practice and general health information, with patients and interested third parties.
However, social media can pose risks to the Practice’s reputation. To minimise these risks and to ensure that social media is only used for appropriate and positive purposes, we expect all staff, patients and third parties interacting with the Practice through Social Media to comply with this policy.
This policy sets out rules in relation to the use of all forms of social media. Failure to comply could result in the Practice issuing warnings or taking appropriate action to social media users regarding their conduct and the impact on the Practice/Patient relationship, this could include removing access to the Practice’s social media.
Definition of Social Media
Social media is a type of interactive online media that allows parties to communicate instantly with each other and allows the sharing of data in a public forum.
Social media covers, but is not limited to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and You Tube.
This policy covers all individuals and third parties who have access to the Practice’s Social Media sites.
Examples of social media misuse may include (this list is not exhaustive):
- Posting offensive or critical messages/comments on Practice or supplier/third party organisation sites
- Posting content that could breach patient, staff or Practice confidentiality
- Posting derogatory or inappropriate pictures or comments about staff, patients or third parties
- Reposting or sharing material of an offensive, sexual, political or religious nature and linking such content to the Practice
Any perceived misuse of social media should be discussed with the Practice Manager email@example.com
Use of Social Media
If you are unsure about the suitability of a ‘post’ or ‘comment’, you should discuss this with the Practice Manager.
You may contribute to the Practice’s social media activities by possibly providing information. This will need to be approved by the Practice Manager who has administration rights.
Circulating or posting commercial, personal, religious or political beliefs or promotion of organisations unrelated to the Practice’s business on the Practice social media is prohibited.
Responsible Use of Social Media
You should ensure the communication has a purpose and is intended for public benefit.
- Use your common sense before you comment, or post anything and think about what you are saying to the public and how you are representing yourself or your organisation.
- Ensure that you do not post any disparaging or defamatory statements about the Practice, Staff (current and past), Patients (current and past) other Practices and organisations with in the NHS or connecting areas.
- You should not post images or links to inappropriate content. Many images available online are copyright protected and should not be used without permission.
- You must not breach confidentiality in any way.
- You must not use social media to bully, harass or to discriminate against any party.
- You must not express any strong religious or political points.
- You must refrain from any illegal activity.
- You should not enter in to any personal attacks or hostile postings.
The golden rule is to ask yourself whether what you are about to post could cause offence to anyone. If the answer is yes then do not make the posting.
Social Media and Patients
Staff should not reply directly to comments on Social Media regarding the Practice. If you see anything that concerns you, this should be highlighted to the Practice Manager who will agree with the Partners what appropriate action to take.
The Practice could potentially contact patients who are critical of the Practice on social media and invite them in to discuss their concerns, if this continues the Practice may need to advise them of the risk of a breakdown in the Practice/Patient relationship.
The Practice will also remove posts from social media if necessary and we will contact the admin team of other social media, remind them they are liable for what is stated on the page, and ask for posts to be removed.
Libel laws apply to social media as they do to any publication.
In the event of misuse being found, the Practice may limit your access rights in addition to any other action deemed necessary.
If you are unsure about any of the contents of this policy or want to discuss the Practice’s social media please contact the Practice Manager firstname.lastname@example.org