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GP-rating website warned over potential libel claims

17 July 2008

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The creator of a new website which allows patients to rate GPs has received a warning from one of the country’s top libel law specialists.

Anyone can search for named doctors across the UK on Visitors to the site can rate doctors, read reviews and leave anonymous comments.

The site’s launch has prompted Carter-Ruck lawyers to write to its founder, Dr Neil Bacon, expressing “grave concerns about the potential for inaccurate, irresponsible and defamatory allegations being published on the website”, according to GPs’ website Pulse.

The law firm is representing 37 doctors and has warned Dr Bacon that if any of its clients is defamed on the website, it will draw the court’s attention to the fact that concerns have been raised about the risks involved. It reminded him of the need to put “robust structures and procedures in place to ensure that no doctor is libelled on the site at any stage”.

Dr Bacon has reportedly said that systems are in place to remove any defamatory comments. On the first day of the site’s launch, more than 2,500 patients rated their doctor. Only comments which attract suspicion or are reported are taken down.

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